Funding Arts Network, originally known as fifty over fifty, inc. emerged from informal conversations between two Miami friends, Deborah Hoffman and Nita Maercks, both long-time patrons and supporters of the arts. They shared a concern about how to sustain a healthy cultural environment in Miami-Dade County in light of diminishing government and corporate funding for cultural programs., The initial goal was fifty members, each of whom would contribute $1,000 per year, to create an annual arts funding pool of $50,000, hence the group’s original name, fifty over fifty, inc..
In 2003 the name fifty over fifty, inc. was changed to Funding Arts Network (FAN) . The growing membership enabled FAN to award approximately $250,000 annually and, as of 2019, FAN has awarded more than $4,600,000 in grants to support over 550 programs in the visual and performing arts.
In addition, a new category, Emerging Groups, was introduced for that period, enabling newer groups to receive FAN funding.
In September 2006 another funding category, Community Arts, was introduced for cultural arts organizations focused on racial, ethnic, or cultural heritage.
In celebration of the 10thAnniversary of FAN, the board voted to provide a special grant for a new work. FAN was honored to have the James S. and John L. Knight Foundation as its grant partner in this newly created Knight Foundation New Work Award. A major criterion for the award, which amounted to $50,000 a year in 2007 and 2008, was that it be available to a broad cross section of the Miami-Dade population.
In 2011 FAN created a program to bring further awareness and understanding of the arts to its members: FANFare: A Taste of……!, a lecture series on one of the four disciplines of Dance, Music, Theater or Visual Arts. Both members and non-members attended with members paying a discounted fee. These lectures were highly interactive, and the program was extremely popular.
In 2018, the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) chose FAN to be honored at its 11th Annual Corporate Luncheon for the difference FAN made in the realm of the arts and philanthropy. Founding President Deborah Hoffman and President Maureen Gragg represented FAN.
In addition, in December 2018 Deborah Hoffman, FAN’s Founding President was one of the 21 leaders from the Miami community awarded the Knight Arts Champion Award. The award recognized Miami leaders “who have played key roles in building South Florida’s rich and diverse cultural community” and praised their leadership and “passionate commitment to our city and a belief that art and culture binds us to this place – and to each other.” Each champion was given $10,000 to contribute to a local artist or arts organization of their choice. Deborah’s choice was Funding Arts Network.
“Debi is always looking out for Miami, always wanting us to shine and model other great ideas..seeking best practices and bringing them to Miami. She’s been a teacher, publicist, lawyer and changemaker…all of these things add up to a passion to make a difference in our community.” — Teresa Valdes-Fauli Weintraub, Co-chair Philanthropy Miami
To mark our 25th Anniversary, FAN members and friends contributed funds to support a special one-time awards program entitled FAN’s AWARE Grants Initiative. FAN’s AWARE (Artistic Works Addressing and Rethinking Equity) Grants Initiative was directed to advance exciting, probing performing and/or visual arts work that explores or reflects issues of equity.
On January 9, 2022 FAN awarded $200,00 to six outstanding arts organizations:
- Martha/Mary Concert
- Miami Light Project
- Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation
- Seraphic Fire
- Miami Dade College, Live Arts Miami
- Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami