Salem Museum director John Long, a columnist for The Roanoke Times, wrote an appreciation for philanthropists Nick and Jenny Taubman and their two-year Taubman Foundation Sustainability Grants program.
Here’s an excerpt:
The couple decided to do something about the threat to local cultural groups. They created a fund of $2.5 million to support arts and cultural organizations in the Roanoke vicinity. Over two years, they would make grants to eligible groups, not for programs or buildings, but to stabilize their finances. The Taubman grants would fund sustainability for embattled organizations. They could pay off debts, hire development staff, invest in marketing or strategic planning, build endowments — in other words, do what is necessary to ensure the organization survives and thrives tomorrow. “Show us the money!” alone wouldn’t cut it. They wanted to see, “Let us show you what we will do with the money to shore up our organization.”
Some of you might think that a colossal waste of money. But for those of you who value the arts, history, science, culture — you see the value of such a program. And we in the local nonprofit community are thrilled beyond measure.
People in the arts and cultural scene who I spoke to after the announcement of the final round of Taubman grants expressed hope that someone else in a position to benefit Roanoke on that scale might consider picking up the torch. I wonder how likely that might be?