We began in a bear market
SCFD was created in the late 1980s, when the Denver metro economy faced a serious economic downturn and cultural funding at the city and state level was being cut significantly. Cultural organizations were on the brink of shutting down. A group of local mavericks rallied to put forth a regional tax that would give one penny from every $10 purchase back to cultural organizations across our seven-county region. More than 30 years ago, the tax passed with 67% favorability. It has been renewed by voters three more times since then. In the early years, SCFD granted local organizations about $18 million annually. Today, SCFD distributes more than $60 million each year to nearly 300 organizations.
Honoring our history
The success and longevity of the SCFD is a direct result of the visionary leadership of a small group of committed community members who developed the concept and saw it through to reality. The heart and soul of that group was Rex Morgan.
Rex Morgan was a long-time civic activist and trustee of the Denver Art Museum whose vision was to create a thriving cultural community for all residents. During the 1980s, Rex Morgan and other community leaders lobbied the legislature, organized the original SCFD ballot initiative, and championed the implementation of the 0.1% sales and use tax.
You can see a tangible tribute to Morgan’s contributions on the Galleria terrace at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The sculpture, commissioned by the Rex Morgan Tribute Committee, was created by Colorado artist Patrick Marold.
To honor the spirit of Rex Morgan, awards are given in his name every two years at the SCFD Block Party & Awards. The Rex Morgan Awards honor outstanding contributions to our community’s culture through leadership, volunteerism, and organizational excellence. Read about past Rex Morgan Awards events and winners.