BCF Arts Challenge Surpasses Goal 

The Berrien Community Foundation Arts Challenge – Act 2 was a smash hit! The community once again went above and beyond to meet a $60,000 challenge made by a small group of donors to support local arts organizations.   

“We made it!” said Berrien Community Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “We are grateful for everyone who gave to the Arts Challenge. These organizations can continue to rebuild with the confidence knowing the community has their backs.”

More than $95,000 was raised during the month-long initiative, which concluded Aug. 31, to match the $60,000 for a total of more than $155,000 for the participating arts organizations. Some gifts continue to come in to add to that total.  

Act 1 of the Arts Challenge aimed to keep the art and cultural institutions afloat during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Act 2 had set its sights on helping organizations re-start and thrive after more than a year of shuttered doors and revenue loss. With these two efforts, more than $355,000 was raised to support local arts culture thanks to the community.  

An unexpected — but most welcome — consequence of the Arts Challenges is more open channels of communications between the nonprofits.  

“It’s always a tremendous experience working with the arts organizations that have come together for the challenge,” said Larry Nielsen, treasurer for Twin City Players. “We’re all a little bit different but we all work so well together, and we are all so appreciative of being a part of a community that is so supportive and loving of its various arts organizations.”  


Nonprofits benefiting from the Arts Challenge are:  

  • The Acorn Theater
  • The Citadel Dance and Music Center  
  • Children's Music Workshop  
  • The GhostLight Theatre  
  • Krasl Art Center  
  • Performing Arts Workshops - PAW  
  • Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra  
  • Twin City Players  
  • Water Street Glassworks  

These nine organizations serve communities all over Berrien County, providing experiences in various arts disciplines to all ages. From glass blowing to early childhood music, from highly attended concerts to engaging workshops and classes, from cutting edge theatre to breathtaking galleries, these organizations are the beating heart of cultural engagement in Berrien County.  

The leaders in these arts organizations were a strong force behind the effort. Board members of the nine organizations all donated to help reach the goal - 100% of the organizations’ leaders and boards members contributed to this challenge before asking the public for help.  

The Berrien Community Foundation is a center of philanthropy in Berrien County holding endowment and other funds to support programs and projects throughout Berrien County.  These funds support the ever-changing needs of Berrien County now and into the future.  With more than $75 million in assets, Berrien Community Foundation provides grants and scholarships and helps individuals develop funds and endowments focused on their specific interests, or to support agencies they love to create their individual charitable legacy through life-end giving and estate planning. For more information about BCF call 983-3304 or visit www.berriencommunity.org