The annual ArtsWave Community Campaign is the first and largest united arts fundraising initiative in the United States. For 12 weeks, from February through April, the ArtsWave team, volunteers, partners and business leaders work tirelessly to raise the money it takes to keep Greater Cincinnati's arts scene vibrant. That vibrancy leads to a wave of positive impacts in our community, making the arts a key part of the region's success.

Does that mean we take it easy outside of those 12 weeks? Of course not. In fact, for ArtsWave and our partners, Campaign season begins long before the official kickoff. Before one Campaign ends, we begin planning with the following year's Campaign Chair. This year, that meant Cincinnati Bell President & CEO Leigh Fox handed over the reins to Western & Southern Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Jill McGruder at the official 2019 Campaign Finale in April.

By June, we started working with Jill to recruit cabinet members, develop new strategies and identify key prospects. That work continues through the end of the summer, when we start scheduling cabinet meetings and face-to-face calls on key accounts. In late fall, our solicitation work is in full swing. Led by our Campaign Cabinet and their team of volunteers, we're calling business leaders and employee campaign coordinators to begin developing their workplace giving plans and activities. We're reaching out to individual donors and prospects and future partners. In all, we'll contact about 800 companies.

At this point, we're also developing the tools we'll need during the campaign. Pledge forms, brochures, online giving portals and more are in the works. Not to mention the planning that goes into curating a series of events like ArtsWave Days, our corporate singing competition, CincySings, and new this year, CincyJams, as well as many additional events through our Leadership and Affinity Groups. In December, as part of our holiday celebrations, we run our own ArtsWave workplace giving campaign. That, in many ways, is a rehearsal for how the overall campaign will play out. We troubleshoot issues and smooth out all of the creases. In January, we finalize the Campaign goal and gear up for our public campaign launch in February.

When our Campaign wraps, our Impact team goes into overdrive to work with our volunteer-led grants committees to ensure that the funds raised through the campaign are distributed across the arts sector to have the greatest community impact. This happens within a month of the close of the campaign. Then, the cycle starts all over again. It takes hard work and dedication, not just from ArtsWave Staff, but from our volunteer leaders, partners, arts organizations and, most importantly from you. Without your support during our Campaign, Greater Cincinnati's arts would not be what they are today. Until then, we'll keep the wheels turning so that we're ready come February.