Forum Attendees Share Opinions on CAC Spending Plans: County Residents Turn Out to Help Inform Plan for Future Spending

Cleveland (December 6, 2010) - At two public forums held in mid-November, nearly 50 individuals turned out to learn more about a proposed spending policy for Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, and to share their opinions for prioritizing the agency’s allocation of grant funding. Attendees at both meetings included representatives from current and former CAC grantees, as well as interested members of the public and of the arts and culture community. The first meeting was held at the Lakewood Public Library on Nov. 15 and the second meeting took place at the Shaker Heights Public Library on Nov. 17.

“We continually look for ways to involve the community in shaping our efforts to be responsive and inclusive,” said CAC Executive Director Karen Gahl-Mills. “As stewards of public dollars that are dedicated to funding local artistic and cultural programming, it only makes sense to ensure the public has a voice in ensuring those dollars are spent in a way that has the most significant impact on the sector.”

Attendees generally agreed that CAC should continue to allocate the majority of its grant funding for General Operating Support, which provides unrestricted funding to eligible Cuyahoga County-based nonprofit organizations. The second priority continues to be CAC’s Project Support grant program, which awards nearly $1 million for artistic or culturally focused projects to a range of eligible nonprofits. Among newer ideas, several attendees expressed interest in funding for shared services that could help grantees save administrative expense in areas including payroll, benefits and software licenses.

Overall however, grantees in attendance stated that they did not want to see the grants for General Operating Support be diminished by expenditures in other areas. “We know that grant funding for operating expenses are among the hardest to come by,” said Gahl-Mills, “so we know that our grantees truly value that resource. At the same time, we want to be more than a writer of checks; we want to ensure this public funding is a catalyst for sustainable practices that will help our grantees long into the future.”

CACs board of trustees will discuss the public input from the forums at its next meeting on Dec. 13, and CAC expects to have a proposed spending policy for them to vote on by spring of 2011. CAC is a sub-division of the State of Ohio, which collects a dedicated tax on cigarettes sold in Cuyahoga County, to fund local arts and culture organizations. All regularly scheduled CAC Board meetings are open to the public. The time, location and agenda for meetings, as well as grant information and applications can be found at the CAC Web site. For additional information about this meeting or about CAC’s grant program, call 216.515.8303 or visit