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Arapahoe County News

Posted on: November 4, 2021

Arapahoe County sees sharp increase in annual SCFD funding


Thanks to a timely increase in local retail sales, the Arapahoe County Cultural Council will award more than $2 million dollars to support area arts, scientific and cultural organizations in 2021-22.

The 2021-22 awards total is $2,282,528.68, a 35 percent increase over 2020-21. The funds come from the 0.1 percent sales tax in the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), which includes Arapahoe and six other metro-area counties. The post-pandemic reopening of the local economy has helped drive the increase in retail sales, and thus in the tax receipts dedicated to the SCFD.

The SCFD is the only cultural funding model in the nation that serves a region of seven counties and is the second-largest cultural funding mechanism in the US, annually funding nearly 300 organizations across the Front Range with more than $60 million.

Through SCFD, small, medium and large organizations are supported and able to bring world class exhibits to the entire metro region—and not just in large city centers. This tiny tax—just one cent for every $10 sale—does big things by generating tourism, jobs, economic activity and access to culture.

“Even in a year marked by a global pandemic, the SCFD was able to provide $64 million – the largest amount in its more than 30-year-history,” said Arapahoe County Cultural Chair Trina Campbell. “As it does in Arapahoe County, this money goes to a broad spectrum of arts, culture and scientific organizations across the seven-county metro area that provide us wonder in our neighbors and across our region. With nearly 300 groups funded, just one penny on every $10 spent creates an amazing tapestry of experience for all.”

Among the many beneficiaries of the tax are:

  • The metro area’s largest cultural organizations, including the Denver Museum of Art, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and Denver Zoo
  • Regional organizations such as Hudson Gardens & Event Center, City of Aurora Cultural Services Division, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, and Swallow Hill Music, which qualify by reaching certain budget and attendance thresholds 
  • Other local organizations and projects through counties that participate in the SCFD

The Arapahoe County Cultural Council solicits and screens applications from eligible non-profit and governmental entities for Arapahoe County’s portion of the SCFD sales tax. This is a 13-member volunteer citizen board appointed by the Arapahoe Board of County Commissioners (Board). 

Typically, organizations that apply for funding will make in-person presentations to the Board after being approved by the Cultural Council. For 2021, Arapahoe County will award 31 organizations more than $1.46M to support general operating costs, and the County also will award funding to 54 projects in the amount of $819,722.81.

The 2021-2022 funding breakdown by discipline is:

  • Cultural/Natural History - $413,733.54
  • Natural Science - $214,006.11
  • Performing Arts (Music/Art/Theatre) - $1,189,539.88
  • Visual Arts - $465,249.15

Overall, SCFD funding supports innovation; collaboration between residents, cultural groups and communities; quality of life; greater access to scientific and cultural resources; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI); and education for children and adults alike. 

For more information about SCFD and the organization it supports, visit our website.

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