Colorado's largest cultural institutions are offering financial help to their colleagues, uniting big and small arts groups as they ask taxpayers to continue supporting a pioneering funding program.
After broaching the idea in March, the board of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District has agreed to create a new $750,000 fund for small organizations, many formed by and serving neighborhoods and ethnic groups.
In 2014, the SCFD handed out $52 million in sales and use tax revenue to around 270 organizations. Most of that money from the cultural sales and use tax goes to five big institutions -- known as Tier I groups -- like the Denver Zoo and Denver Art Museum.
Some 240 small groups smaller groups, known as Tier III organizations, across seven counties divvy up 14 percent of the take. The rest goes to the mid-sized regional organizations, or Tier II groups.
New legislation aims to give more money to those small- and mid-sized groups, but some have said it's not enough. Voters will decide in November whether to extend SCFD through 2030. In the meantime, the $750,000 is being raised from the core recipients of money from the organization.
Since voters first approved the SCFD in 1988, it has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in sales tax revenue to organizations in Denver and six surrounding counties.