2013 was a year of consolidation for AFAC; our calls for proposal are now the most preferred access point to funding by independent artists across the Arab region. The steadiness of our grant making programs has allowed us to focus our attention on long-term strategies for developing local philanthropy in the cultural sector.
Pioneering the cause of arts and culture as a worthy investment is no simple task. Over the past year, we found ourselves talking about arts and culture with directors of leading petrochemical companies, construction companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc., inviting them to channel their CSR support towards our artists - a juxtaposition that would have been far-fetched not too long ago. But the region is changing, and so is the realization that supporting artistic expression is a necessary investment back into society.
To further our goal, we started researching the trends of philanthropic support for the arts and culture with 200 corporations in the region and are developing tools that aim to better connect donors with recipients. What are the different motivations that inspire people to support the arts? From personal development to financial investment, education to international diplomacy, there are many compelling reasons, but it is important that discussions between fund-seekers and fund-providers remain transparent and properly framed from the onset.
Finally, in spite of the images of gloom and grim realities broadcast to the world from this region in 2013, our artists will continue unabated to inspire their communities and instill hope where it is needed most. They continue to project with confidence and resourcefulness, their vision of a better world.
Oussama Rifahi, January 2014