Why Give to Arts, Why Give Now?

ArtsFund’s COVID-19 Arts Emergency Relief Fund was made possible by generous donations from over 200 individuals and businesses. We asked a few of these donors to describe the motivations behind their support. Here’s what we heard. 

CYNTHIA STROUM, Philanthropist 

“Look, I will do whatever I can to help.” When ArtsFund began raising funds for the Relief Fund, Cynthia Stroum not only made a large contribution, she volunteered to help solicit donations as well. She knew the severity of the coming crisis would be unlike anything the arts sector had seen before. “Arts organizations are going to have one heck of a time staying above water even after this pandemic is under control. All the arts in Seattle need support.” In her advocacy Cynthia emphasized that the arts play a unique and irreplaceable role in our community. “You need to have art in your life. The theater has saved me in more ways than I can count. Seattle has such a thriving theater world. I don’t want to see it wither away.”


KARA MORSE, Partner at Stoel Rives LLP 

Kara Morse has been supporting ArtsFund every year since 2013 through the Stoel Rives workplace giving campaign. She appreciates that, through ArtsFund, she can provide holistic support to the entire arts community. “ArtsFund’s work is essential to support and maintain the arts community that I love and actively promote as a patron, but it also supports the arts community that I don’t know about that is vital to someone else’s engagement with the arts.” Although Stoel Rives’ workplace campaign, like many others, was postponed due to the pandemic, Kara made an early gift to the Relief Fund immediately after it was announced. “When COVID came up, I knew right away that the arts were going to be completely devastated by this. I trusted ArtsFund to understand who needed this money the most and where my money could make the most impact.”


JOHN BERNSTEIN, CFO at Vulcan, Inc. 

In recent weeks ArtsFund has engaged a wave of new donors inspired to support our arts community when it’s most needed. One of these first-time donors is John Bernstein who moved to Seattle in January.

He views his gift as an investment in the health of a community he’s eager to join. “As a recent transplant from New York City, I am deeply aware of the importance of the arts community to the wellbeing of a city and its residents. Only if we support the arts through this difficult time, can we hope to enjoy the many benefits of a vibrant cultural community in the future.”


KEVIN FOXArtsFund Trustee since 2006 

As a member of ArtsFund’s Board of Trustees for over a decade, Kevin Fox’s support of ArtsFund has included his time and service, in addition to financial contributions. Balancing the importance of supporting ArtsFund’s core programming with the extraordinary need for reliefKevin doubled his typical contribution in order to support the Relief Fund. “While I wanted to make a special donation for the COVID relief fund, I knew that I also must keep giving regular annual support as ArtsFund makes annual unrestricted giftswhich is about as wonderful as can be for an arts organization. Plus, there is so much more ArtsFund does as an advocate, convener, and catalyst.”


In these challenging times, ArtsFund is deeply grateful to the donors in our community who continue to support our work and the arts community. Whether you’re a new supporter or have been with us for years, thank you for helping us build community through the artsWe couldn’t do this without you. 

Why have you chosen to support the COVID-19 Arts Emergency Relief Fund? Share your story with us on Facebook or email! 


Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, audience at JazzforKids concert.