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CDP to become an independent nonprofit

January 20, 2012

Since 2005, the Cultural Data Project has been operated by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which has provided a strong base for the CDP’s development as the project grew to scale. The CDP began as a Pennsylvania experiment, designed to answer the question: could arts organizations enter data online just once a year, and then use it not only to apply to funders, but to track their own trends, compare their operations to peers, and build a toolbox of solid facts for research and advocacy? The answer has been a resounding yes – and not just for Pennsylvania.

Today, the CDP is operating in 11 states and the District of Columbia. The project collects data from more than 12,000 arts and cultural organizations, with the financial support of more than 115 partners around the country. As the CDP continues its national expansion, our strategic plan called for an assessment of the project’s corporate structure. As the result of this evaluation, Pew and the CDP’s other governing partners concluded that the CDP will best be able to serve its mission in the years to come as an independent nonprofit organization. Over the coming year, the CDP will be transitioning to an independent 501(c)(3) and moving to new offices in Philadelphia.

Once established as an independent organization, the CDP will be in a position to lead a national dialogue on cultural policy research and development. We hope the new CDP will serve as a hub for partnerships with other entities that gather information about artists, commercial cultural organizations, and audience participation – helping us to become the truly national, comprehensive resource our sector needs. Pew will remain a major supporter and key advisor to the CDP, and the transition will enable the CDP to build a national board and governance structure to support its mission of strengthening the sector nationwide.

For participating states, the CDP’s operations will proceed full speed ahead. Participating organizations will continue to have access to the same powerful CDP reports and to our friendly Help Desk. Grantmakers will continue to use the CDP’s Funder Reports and online analytic tools to better understand their applicants. And researchers and advocates will have access to an ever-growing repository of data on nonprofit arts and culture.

Meanwhile, as part of its capitalization for this transition, the CDP will be building its capacity to implement some exciting new enhancements, such as facilitating additional research partnerships, developing new technological tools and reporting features, and expanding our outreach and role as a national convener within the sector.

All of us at the CDP are immensely excited about taking the CDP to the next level in the years to come. We look forward to sharing more updates as we make this transition. In the meantime, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.