May 24, 2022. Madison Cultural Arts (MCA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is thrilled to announce the award of one-time grants totaling $120k from American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds distributed by the State of Connecticut, and the Town of Madison. Each is providing $60k in funds, thus ensuring that the decades-old tradition of a classic 4th of July celebration concert, to be held this year on Saturday, July 2nd, will continue for years to come.
MCA, a small all-volunteer organization, organizes and operates the free concert which is held each year as part of Madison’s 4th of July holiday celebration. For over 40 years, the concert has relied on the generosity of patrons, supporters and volunteers. 100% of the funds received from donations and grants go to underwrite concert expenses.
With the concert being solely dependent upon donations and sponsorships collected before and during the concert, the concert’s future had become unclear. With no financial foundation to speak of, increasing costs, and a need to include a rain date, MCA began to worry about being able to raise sufficient funds to cover the expenses of this year’s concert as well as support future concerts.
Historically, there has always been a question about the ability to put on the show during periods of financial uncertainty. After a rainout in 2019, and the past two years of cancellations due to COVID, the ability to put on this year’s show was in question. Annual costs to put on the concert, including a rain date, have risen almost 75% and the ability to cover these costs with donor contributions alone is a concern.
When making the application for the grants, MCA stressed its intention to build a financial safety net such that during times of unpredictable events, these funds, along with continuing donations and sponsorships, would ensure sufficient financial resources to make sure the ‘show goes on’. Any funds not spent in a given year are held to ensure the show’s viability the following year.
As a direct result of the ARP grants, the concert will have its first ever rain date, which will allow MCA to postpone the concert from July 2nd in the event of a rainout and move the show to July 4th.
Elizabeth Dickinson, MCA’s President offered: “Madison Cultural Arts is committed to the future of this concert. In analyzing our lack of financial security, we decided to seek help from town officials via the ARP Advisory Committee and our state legislators. We are grateful to all those involved for making this happen.”
It should be noted however, these funds alone do not assure the future of the concert. The future of the concert is only assured by the combination of the one-time ARP grants and the continuing generosity of donors, sponsors, and patrons.