Beginning in 2015, two of New York City’s leading culture and arts advocacy organizations, the New York City Arts Coalition and One Percent for Culture, agreed to join forces to create a coordinated, robust, and sustainable cultural advocacy organization to ensure that all New Yorkers are able to participate in and benefit from lasting social change through the power of culture and arts.

Over the past two years, through the NYC Inspires campaign, the two organizations have united cultural institutions and Cultural Development Fund groups to advocate for increased funding for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). The combined efforts have resulted in a $17 million increase in FY17 to DCLA, an additional $18.5 million in FY18. Following the merger, New Yorkers for Culture & Arts’s campaign resulted in a record-breaking $20 million increase to DCLA for 2019.

In January 2016, the two organizations embarked on a formal two-year merger process with the aid of planning grants from the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund, administered by the New York Community Trust. To guide the merger process, a transitional board was formed from members appointed from each of the organization’s steering committees. Consultants were engaged to assist in each of the two phases of the merger planning process, assess the strengths and limitations of each organization, and identify the characteristics that would contribute to the vigor and effectiveness of the merged entity.