March 21, 2011

My Next Gift Will Be Nothing Like My Last Gift

Kristen A. Beall, Ed.D.

The Black Keys, 2011 Grammy Award Winners

It is likely you have never heard of the indie rock band, The Black Keys.  I can also bet that your last charitable gift to the arts did not involve a visit to Kern Community Foundation's online Nonprofit Search.  Until this morning, I was in the same boat.

Channeling the verve from The Black Keys song "Next Girl," I can promise one thing . . . that my next gift will be nothing like my last gift.

"Next Girl" opens with a guitar riff reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child."  Another track "Howlin' for You" begins with a driving back beat sampled from a familiar crowd-rouser heard at most sporting events since the early Nineties.  Dismissed by some as a hipster Led Zeppelin, earlier this year The Black Keys turned some heads by taking home two Grammy Awards. All from a band who has spent the better part of the last eight years touring the country in a van that smelled like . . . well, what you would expect a van to smell like after hauling two dudes around the country for eight years.

Listening to a Fresh Air interview of The Black Keys from January, I couldn't help but notice the similarities between this successful rock duo and the local arts and culture organizations we have selected for the inaugural awards from KernArts Now!, a grantmaking initiative of Kern Community Foundation.  Focus . . . check!  Energy . . . yep!  A "do-it-yourself" attitude . . . they've got it! Creativity . . . we're talking about artists, right?  A thirst for knowledge and a willingness to learn from experience . . . ding ding ding!

At 4:30pm on "First Friday" April 1 at Metro Galleries, Kern Community Foundation will award 10 grants to help improve the organizational effectiveness and promote the sustainability of local arts and culture organizations.  The check presentation will be immediately followed by a celebratory toast and the first view of the exhibit "From the Desert to the Sea. 

These grants are not your typical program grants, however. Instead, they pay for things like new technology, training and other capacity-building needs . . . the kinds of things that one might expect any good businesses to have.  Simply stated, KernArts Now! grants are our way of helping these good nonprofit businesses become great nonprofit businesses.

Want to learn more? Visit our Nonprofit Search to find profiles of local arts and culture organizations. Or stop by Metro Galleries at 4:30pm on April 1st. Just promise me one thing . . . that your next gift will be nothing like your last gift.

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