Updated: Jan 17
Sure, galas and direct mail campaigns are great, but the fundraising campaigns on this list go a step further, down the stairs, around the corner and down a hallway. From NFT campaigns to selling limited edition dinner plates, all of these organizations have found meaningful ways to collaborate with visual artists in support of charitable organizations. When I first started this organization, it was based on the idea that art had the unique ability to tell stories, cut across cultural boundaries, and spark change. The work that these organizations are doing showcase the incredible ability of the arts to inspire change, fundraise, and start meaningful conversations.
NFT'S FOR CHARITY
Blankets of Hope joined forces with Right-click, Give!, for one of the largest NFT charity fundraising events in history. Blankets of Hope is on a mission to inspire a global movement of kindness, one blanket at a time. Blankets of Hope has already partnered with schools across 43 states and 3 countries to donate over 50,000 Blankets of Hope to those in need.
100% of the proceeds of the NFT sale went to the organization, in which they raised $200,000K in total. The event took place from December 20th – 24th, 2021, and all of the artwork sold in the fundraiser was donated by collectors, artists, and creators. Learn more about the organization here: https://www.rightclickgive.com/
An NFT is a non-fungible token, a unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger. NFTs can be associated with reproducible digital files such as photos, videos, and audio, and they have become an exciting new way for charities to fundraise.
The works included in the fundraiser included: Gary Vaynerchuk’s VeeFriends, Tom Bilyeu’s Merry Modz, and other global brands such as Cool Cats, CyberKongz, Doodles, GutterCatGang, PixelVault & World of Women just to name a few.
ARTIST PLATE PROJECT
Prospect NY, a company dedicated to making art accessible to everyone, is raising funds for the Coalition for the Homeless through the campaign 'The Artist Plate Project'. The purchase of just one of these limited edition plates can provide a meal for up to 100 homeless or low-income New Yorkers.
The initiative was a major success in 2020, raising just over $1.5 million USD. The initiative included over 40 artists. Each plate was created in an edition of 250, where each plate costs $195.
Sponsors are provided with early access to the plates, 24 hours before the sale goes public. However, there is limited space. The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless individuals and families. We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society.
Here is a shortlist of several high profile artists involved in the 2021 initiative:
Read more about the campaign: Hypebeast
OPS T-SHIRT CAMPAIGN
Street Health partnered with local artists Phuong Nguyen and Junkie Rat to create a t-shirt campaign that supported their Overdose Prevention Site. The event corresponded with Overdose Awareness Day, which took place on August 31st, 2021.
Phuong Nguyen, an artist and art therapist based in Toronto, spent time working at a shelter in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, which is known for its complex set of social issues, including disproportionately high levels of drug use, homelessness, poverty, crime, mental illness and sex work: “I worked at a shelter that has a mandate to serve adults suffering from substance use disorder and/or mental illness and a home for older adults that was located right by Oppenheimer Park, notoriously known for its tent city,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen set out to collaborate with a local Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) to raise funds for this cause. Nguyen landed on Street Health, an organization who lost their provincial OPS funding back in March 2019. She collaborated with Junkie Rat, a local artist working at the OPS to create these t-shirt designs. The t-shirts raised over $5,000 for the organization, selling out in the first 24 hours of being launched.
Street Health is a non-profit community based agency that improves the health of homeless and under-housed people in Toronto. They offer both physical and mental health programs. Their work is focused in the neighbourhood around Dundas and Sherbourne Streets, an area with the largest concentration of homeless shelters and drop-in centres in Canada.
Read more about the campaign: Street Health
MENTAL HEALTH POSTER CAMPAIGN
I know, it is pretty sneaky to put one of our own campaigns on this list, but we couldn't help ourselves. Sometimes you've got to toot your own horn!
Twentytwenty Arts partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Toronto for the first time in 2018 to create an art-focused mental health campaign on the Toronto TTC Subway called Life on the Line. In every iteration, we put out a call for submissions asking artists to submit works about their lived experiences with mental health. The finalists works then become available as limited edition prints where 75% of all sales are donated to a CMHA Toronto program. In 2022, it is focused on youth mental health.
In addition to the exhibition of art, the campaign is also focused on producing resources and content in collaboration with CMHA Toronto staff. In 2020, we created 10 Free Mental Health Resources in Canada, shared artist stories on Unsinkable, and spoke with experts on Instagram Live. In 2022, we will be hosting a launch event, panel discussions with experts, and much, much more. If you want to learn more about our campaign, how you can get involved, and stay up to date on news, subscribe to our newsletter.
Read more about the campaign: Hypebeast
GINGERBREAD ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN
Adsum for Women and Children worked with designers at Arrivals and Departures to shed light on the fact that warmth, safety and basic shelter are not the reality for everyone.
Okay, okay. This campaign isn't exactly by an 'artist' in the traditional sense. But the team at Arrivals and Departures created images that thoughtfully, effectively, and emotionally connects with their intended audience.
That is art. As Shelly Dwyer, Senior Copywriter, explains: "You see something that represents what you love about the holidays, like a gingerbread house, but then you look at it again and realize now I'm seeing it through the eyes of somebody else's experience entirely."
This clever campaign utilized familiar holiday imagery of a gingerbread house—with a twist. The illustrations showcase cardboard boxes, transit shelters, and benches. A stark and poignant reminder that during the holidays, many do not have something to look forward to.
Read more about the campaign: CBC News
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