The Adventures in New Giving is on the road. As I’m working from DC, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my time in the first stop of Tampa Bay & St. Petersburg and thank everyone involved
First off, thanks to my host Hampton Dohrman of Creative Pinellas community arts agency and Hampton Arts Management, who not only hosted me in his home, but also did a ton of leg work to make sure the project connected to a great mix of local people. Thanks also to everyone who sat for a video interview (most of whom are pictured above) and those who participated in the first new giving mini-summit at the Tampa Fine Arts Museum (pictured in the gallery below).
We have lots to process from the stop: several hours of video footage and tons of stories and ideas that came out of the conversations we hosted. Here are some quick highlights from my end:
- Tampa/St. Pete are taking a comprehensive approach that incorporates new forms of collective philanthropic giving with creative placemaking (.pdf), economic and community development and a concerted effort to bring more full-time urban life to downtown Tampa and nearby neighborhoods.
- Lots of locals agree that small be beautiful. By providing a wide range of small arts grants, they are creating a landscape where new artists can experiment and explore their ideas, grow their audiences organically and collectively bring a big impact that builds a vibrant arts and music scene at relatively low costs. This idea was expressed by young organizers, leaders of larger institutions like the main museums and people who work with and within local government.
- One mini-summit participant revealed that she participates in an informal giving circle with friends. This giving circle has no name, no marketing, no incorporation or overhead. It is simply a group of friends pooling funds and quietly moving those funds to local solutions. She reported that they enjoy their anonymity. I want to explore this issue further. Many giving circles are like this – no web presence, very hard to find, but a more important part of the fabric of communities than might be widely recognized, due to their quiet nature. This brings up a lot of questions about the personal choice to give discreetly, the discover-ability and accessibility of such funds, and how communities can learn from people who lead and give in the background.
If you participated in the Adventures project in Tampa, what stood out for you?
Again, thank you all for your generosity with me and with your community!