QC Cultural Trust unveils plan to elevate arts, culture

After quietly working behind the scenes to improve the vitality of the regional arts and culture scene, the Quad Cities Cultural Trust (QCCT) is publicly rolling out a new strategic plan it says will elevate the area’s arts and culture while expanding the trust’s reach. 

Founded in 2007 to support six core cultural organizations — known as the Legacy Partners — the trust has consistently invested in the partners’ financial stability since its inception. The Legacy Partners are: Common Chord (formerly River Music Experience), Figge Art Museum, Putnam Museum & Science Center, all in Davenport; the Quad City Botanical Center and Quad City Arts, both in Rock Island; and the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, headquartered in Davenport.  

“Our intent is clear: by year-end 2028, QCCT will be known as the leader that enriches arts and culture for all in the Quad Cities region,” QCCT Executive Director Jen Lewis-Snyder said in a news release. “We are committed to sustaining and enhancing our quality of life and sense of place by increasing support of our Legacy Partners as well as welcoming new organizations and initiatives into our fold.” 

According to Ms. Lewis-Snyder, the new vision is the result of a strategic planning journey that began in the fall of 2023 and ended early this year with the outline and the setting of its new strategic initiatives and tactics. The QCCT Board of Trustees along with a consultant played pivotal roles in shaping the strategy. 

“Together, we have laid a strong foundation for our future, and we are excited to implement these initiatives to drive our mission forward,” she told the QCBJ. 

The strategic plan also comes after QCCT reached a milestone in 2021 and achieved the founders’ dream, established in 2018, of reaching a $32 million total asset balance by 2024. When QCCT hit the goal three years early, it created a stretch goal of $40 million by 2024 and has achieved that as well.  

The QCCT was created in 2007 through investments by its founding funders: The Bechtel Trust; the Hubbell-Waterman Foundation; and the John Deere Foundation. To date, QCCT has provided more than $16.5 million in distributions to the Legacy Partners. Today, the trust provides annual operating dollars so the organizations are able to thrive and carry out their missions effectively.

Ms. Lewis-Snyder added “QCCT’s success has come from less than 300 individuals and organizations combined and began with three visionary funders.”

The QCCT’s fundraising success allows it to both continue its support of the Legacy Partners and expand to other arts and cultural amenities across the region. Ms. Lewis-Snyder said the board has not identified how many additional partners it would like to support or to what capacity. “But the plan is to start to engage new partners over the next five years, once our goals have been met,” she told the QCBJ. 

Central to the strategic plan, according to QCCT, is a concerted effort to elevate the stability of those six partners while simultaneously expanding access to arts and culture. “We envision a future where every resident of the Quad Cities has access to the transformative power of the arts,” she said. “Our strategic plan outlines a path forward to realize this vision, ensuring that arts and culture continue to thrive and enrich the lives of all who call this region home.” 

In its release, QCCT said the goals “will be achieved through a robust fundraising campaign aimed at significantly increasing resources available to support local organizations and initiatives.” 

According to Ms. Lewis-Snyder, QCCT is continuing to finalize its new fundraising goals to ensure its initiatives are fully supported and sustainable. It expects to announce a specific goal in the near future. 

For questions about the campaign or the organization, email Tiffany Bainter, operations officer, at [email protected] or learn more at www.qcct.org.  

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