One Percent for Culture

New York City’s Non-Profit Cultural Organizations Launch One Percent for Culture Campaign


New York City's Non-Profit Cultural Organizations Launch One Percent for Culture Campaign

Campaign will build city-wide coalition to educate New Yorkers about the economic and educational value of culture while investing in the future

Culture generates $5.8 billion in economic impact

Poll: 82 percent of New York City voters support allocating one percent of city budget to culture


New York Sept. 7, 2010 New York City's non-profit cultural organizations the small, medium, and large in all five boroughs and in all city council districts have joined forces to launch the One Percent for Culture campaign.

Officially launched at the West Indian-American Day Carnival breakfast in Brooklyn on Monday, Sept. 6th, One Percent for Culture is an unprecedented collaboration of non-profit cultural organizations and concerned citizens from every borough and council district, partnering with business, academic, cultural, and political leaders.

The campaign is aimed at educating New Yorkers about the value of non-profit culture to New York City by generating private and public support for an increase in the city's financial commitment to the non-profit cultural community. The coalition seeks to garner a commitment from the city to ensure that non-profit cultural organizations receive one percent of the municipal budget annually.

Currently, non-profit culture receives less than one-fourth of one percent (0.2331 percent) of the municipal budget to support their operational needs.

Said John Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at the Wildlife Conservation Society: "Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Council have been very supportive of culture through a most difficult economic time. One Percent for Culture is about ensuring that New York City cultural organizations receive appropriate funding as the economy recovers."

For 130 years, the city has funded and supported a wide range of cultural organizations. These great organizations have been sustained through two world wars and a great depression; through 26 mayors and the 9/11 attacks.

While arts and culture stimulate New Yorkers' minds and feed their souls, they also stimulate the city economy. According to the Alliance for the Arts, non-profit culture in the city attracts 26 million tourists and generates $5.8 billion in economic impact annually by: spending $2.9 billion in labor costs, space rental, advertising, administrative expenses, etc.; paying $2.2 billion in wages alone; creating 40,000 jobs.

Calvelli added: "Culture is an economic engine in New York City. New York City's more than 1,200 non-profit cultural organizations bring jobs to our families, customers to our merchants, and revenue to our small businesses. By committing one percent of the city's budget to culture, we would be investing in the economic health of the city and in what makes this city great. The One Percent for Culture campaign will send a clear message to City Hall that non-profit culture is a smart investment that will benefit all New Yorkers."

"This campaign will benefit both the cultural sector and the day-to-day lives of New Yorkers," said Norma P. Munn, Chair of the New York City Arts Coalition. "Additional funding for the creative economy will mean new jobs and new cultural opportunities for those living and visiting the city. I look forward to being part of this effort, and I am sure that many cultural groups across the city will be joining in this work over the next few months."

In addition to their economic value, New York City's cultural organizations, collectively, are the world's greatest living classroom. People of all ages and from every walk of life find inspiration from the arts, science, history, music, drama, and dance.

Over the first two years of the One Percent for Culture campaign, the coalition will educate New Yorkers on the value of non-profit culture to the city and ask them to add their voices to our efforts. The goal is to have 5,000 New Yorkers in each Council district show their support by adding their name to our growing coalition. Having built a strong network of support, the coalition will seek pledges from candidates running for city-wide or councilmanic office in the 2013 election cycle.

"This campaign will show that there is unwavering support for culture in New York City," said Calvelli. "The benefits of culture are felt in every neighborhood and in every household. It is our responsibility to educate New Yorkers about how culture directly affects the economic health of the city."

The appeal will be grassroots, targeting New Yorkers in their communities, through organizations they belong to or patronize, and by using social media.

According to a recent poll conducted by the Global Strategy Group, a super majority of New Yorkers, 82 percent, support increasing funding for non-profit cultural organizations in the city budget to one percent. The poll also found:

  • 94 percent of New Yorkers say that non-profit cultural organizations are important to them personally.
  • New Yorkers think non-profit cultural organizations are an intrinsic part of what makes the city great; an important companion to schools and education in the city; and economic and creative engines for jobs and revenue.
  • Support of the One Percent Campaign extends to the ballot box: A plurality of registered voters, 48 percent, said support for one percent for culture would make them more likely to vote for a candidate; 56 percent of New Yorkers said they would pay higher taxes to support increase funding.

To learn more about the One Percent for Culture campaign, sign the petition, or join the coalition, visit

One Percent for Culture Steering Committee (alphabetical):

Frederick Beinecke: President of Antaeus Enterprises, Trustee of the National Gallery of Art and Wildlife Conservation Society
Randall Bourscheidt: Alliance for the Arts
John Calvelli: Wildlife Conservation Society's Executive Vice President of Public Affairs
Adam Huttler: Executive Director, Fractured Atlas
Arnold Lehman: Director, Brooklyn Museum and Chair of the Cultural Institutions Group
Norma Munn: Chair, NYC Arts Coalition
Briding Newall: Executive Director, West Indian-American Day Carnival Association
Voza Rivers: Chairman, Harlem Arts Alliance

<< Back to press