Artfuel | An Update from Carolyn M. Appleton

I suspect you think we had forgotten about our beloved project, Artfuel. But no!

It is just that life and important projects on the home front here in Texas have gotten in the way this year. You may not be aware that all the activity you see on our Artfuel website has been done free of charge. The Artfuel team has been strategizing and planning, but we are all volunteers at this point. Hopefully, that will change soon.

I wanted to share a year-end update from my perspective, and I hope my partners in Milan, Natalia Sarkissian and Mauro Bartalini will share their own blog post with updates from Italy. I know they are eager to be put to work on behalf of the rich cultural treasures of Tuscany.

It was while visiting with a prior donor of mine last year, a member of the King Ranch Family, that I came up with the idea behind Artfuel. I shared with her the idea that any nation wanting and needing to fundraise in a sophisticated fashion in the United States might consider our approach. That is: a few seasoned professionals and philanthropists with a genuine interest in the subject matter – sans the expensive fundraising consultants who talk but actually do little – combining their efforts to run ongoing major gift campaigns.

Our intent is to remain lean, focused, and to work intensely and quickly toward achieving our shared goals.

My experience after thirty years in nonprofit fundraising is that many donors want to make gifts “overseas,” but they lack confidence in how their funds are transferred and managed on the ground. The distance seems far, and information shared in the news can be confusing. Artfuel’s unique design allows donors to contribute securely to one of the largest and most respected community foundations in the nation, the Communities Foundation of Texas, to a designated fund just for our specific purpose. Those donations will then be transferred by the Foundation to the Art Ministry, Tuscany Branch. There are no other intermediaries.

Artfuel partners Natalia Sarkissian and Mauro Bartalini will work with the Art Ministry on the ground in Italy to monitor the time frame of work undertaken, to translate and convey project updates to Artfuel investors, and to host private donor tours onsite as needed and requested. The Artfuel team will provide updates via this blog and more formal, periodic written reports. And, we will certainly avail ourselves of the latest technologies to share information via video conferencing.

Once complete with our projects in Tuscany, we hope to move on to new critical funding projects in Italy and elsewhere!

The other piece of our Artfuel puzzle is that funding is required for the Arfuel team of three experienced professionals to set aside their time, and to go to work in a concerted fashion. Those operating funds cannot be given and managed via the same donor designated fund noted above at The Communities Foundation of Texas. The two basic functions of Artfuel must be kept separate: 1) housing charitable gifts for conservation, and 2) funding Artfuel’s daily work.

What we need now is an investor(s) willing to bring Artfuel to life by funding our operating budget. And that budget is available to you by contacting me at anytime, using the secure form found on this website, or the one on my professional website (link below).

Thank you for your interest in Artfuel. We see a promising future ahead and we hope you will join us on our journey!

Carolyn M. Appleton | December 3, 2018

I would like to thank Natalia Sarkissian, my colleague from graduate school in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, for partnering on this project and for the many beautiful photographs found on the Artfuel website. It was Natalia who came up with our project’s name as well, Artfuel!