We free-market, limited-government folks tend to take a lot of criticism for being concerned only about business and not community. Of course, that’s not true at all. We love parks and community spaces and the arts. We just think that individuals, companies, and foundations can provide those things better than the government can. We’d rather have private money voluntarily given to things that people actually value, rather than taxpayer money used for politicians’ and bureaucrats’ pet projects.
That’s why I love to see the kind of thing that I saw this morning in the Charlotte Observer. Bank of America is giving $5 million toward a $25 million dollar Foundation of the Carolinas project to renovate the Carolina Theatre on North Tryon Street in downtown Charlotte. It will become a community meeting space, part of a larger “civic district” that the foundation and private donors have been working to create.
Foundation for the Carolinas CEO Michael Marsicano called the donation “extraordinary” and said it aligns the Carolina Theatre project with a long series of other Bank of America-backed cultural and arts projects that have transformed whole blocks of uptown.
That list includes the Discovery Place STEM Center, Levine Museum of the New South, ImaginOn, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library and McColl Center for Visual Art. The bank also donated the building that now hosts the Foundation for the Carolinas, which shares a wall with the Carolina Theatre….
And all of this can be accomplished privately, without the need for government involvement or taxpayer money.