If you follow me on across my social media accounts, you know that the arts (specifically cartooning) and philanthropy are my two major passions in life. So understandably, hearing the news about the donation The Kansas City Art Institute received was incredibly exciting.
Last month, as The Kansas City Art Institute celebrated its 130th anniversary, they received a $25 million dollar donation from an anonymous donor. This donation is the largest that the institute has received since it opened its doors, and is one of the largest donations to ever be given to an art school in America. We have entered a time where the arts are no longer heavily funded in any level of the education system, so this donation will be huge for artists within Kansas City and beyond. According to several news sources, the donation will be split up in a few different ways. A large chunk is going directly to the institute’s overall endowment. But, one of the most exciting parts in my opinion is the $6 million dollars being used as a “challenge” grant that will be used for scholarships. That six million dollars will be used not only to match any other donation the Kansas City Art receives, but to double the donation amount. Having a double-match scenario is rare in scholarship cases, just due to general lack of funding, so this is momentous for the world of arts education.
As a resident of Kansas City, I’m thrilled at this news. This donation is wonderful on its own, but its effects are two-fold. It’s already bumping up the endowment considerably, but a donation of this size has stirred up buzz in general, and will allow for more people to think about donating to the school. As the school’s interim president, Tony Jones said, the donation really is “transformational.” I’m excited to watch The Kansas City Art Institute flourish in the coming years.