A little while back, I posted a summary of my end-of-semester arts policy brief for the New Haven region. As part of that effort, I downloaded some Foundation Center and IRS data and played with it a bit to see what was there. Here were some of the more interesting findings:

  • My quick-and-dirty search found 138 nonprofit organizations in New Haven and immediate surroundings (East Haven, West Haven, North Haven, Hamden, Woodbridge, and Bethany) with arts or arguably arts-related programming. This included several that we don’t normally think of as “arts organizations” but who are nevertheless important to the arts infrastructure (such as Yale University or the United Illuminating Company Foundation).
  • Of these 138 organizations, I found that just five accounted for 88.5% of the $5.6 million in private foundation arts grants recorded cumulatively by the Foundation Center to New Haven institutions in the years 2007 and 2008. (I took two years of data to lessen the risk of outliers skewing the numbers.) These five recipient organizations were the Yale Repertory Theater, the Long Wharf Theater, the New Haven Arts & Ideas Festival, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and Neighborhood Music School.
  • Most of the private foundation money for the arts in New Haven comes from out of state. In fact, only 46% of New Haven arts grants originate locally.

I also plotted a map of the organizations as follows (thanks to the free service batchgeocode.com):

This is not high-intensity number-crunching, but it demonstrates how even a little bit of playing around with this stuff can help you see things you might not have seen before. I’m hoping to do a bit more of this kind of analysis going forward, so let me know if you have any requests.

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  • Frank Pesci, Jr.

    Interesting! What was your method?
    Data for Boston would be awesome, btw. Just inside 128, or only the neighborhoods of Boston.

  • Ian David Moss

    Hi Frank,
    If you follow the links in the post to the IRS and Foundation Center sites, you'll see where I got the info. I just exported the data from the appropriate ZIP codes and filtered it to include only the arts. As for Boston data, did you know about CultureCount, which is a service of the New England Foundation for the Arts? Might not be exactly what you're looking for, but it has a lot of info on Massachusetts arts nonprofits.