Our Commitment to Research

Reflecting the Levitt Foundation’s commitment to research and ongoing self-reflection, as well as contributing to the field of creative placemaking, we commission third-party, multi-year research to evaluate the social impact of Levitt programs in communities across the country while informing our philanthropic processes and practices. On November 30, 2023, the Levitt Foundation announced we will spend down $150 million in assets by 2041. Throughout our spend down, the Levitt Foundation will continue investing in research that shows the impact of the arts in community development and place attachment, including how Levitt programs build social capital in communities and contribute to economic vitality.

2021 Study

Listening to the Music of Community Change: Findings from a Pre/Post Research Study at Levitt Pavilion Denver

MAY 2021

Study Examines How Creative Placemaking Inspires Community Attachment Over Time

This recent study examines to what degree a creative placemaking project, such as a new cultural space like an outdoor music venue, can be positioned and programmed to become a community asset and inspire community attachment over time, using Levitt Pavilion Denver as a case study.

Following a pandemic-fueled wave of interest in public spaces, the study offers timely insights for civic leaders, practitioners and funders seeking to build more equitable and thriving public spaces. Commissioned by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation and conducted by Slover Linett Audience Research, the study focuses on Denver’s Ruby Hill neighborhood—a largely residential, predominantly low-income Hispanic/Latinx community. Reflecting on fieldwork conducted during the “pre” phase of the research in 2013 (before design and construction of Levitt Pavilion Denver began) and the “post” phase in 2019 (during the pavilion’s third concert season), the white paper explores shifting perceptions of Ruby Hill Park, the local area, and the pavilion through the lens of lived experiences of local residents and park users before and after the venue came into being; the role of collective memory in shaping attitudes towards the arts investment; and how equitable practices and processes can further a sense of belonging while fostering long-term investment in the community.


2016 Study

Setting the Stage for Community Change: Reflecting on Creative Placemaking Outcomes

March 2016

Study Examines How Creative Placemaking Builds Social Capital in Communities

Using Levitt music venues as case studies, research examines value of different impact measurement approaches and reveals implications for the arts field.

As interest in measuring and understanding the impact of arts investments in community development continues to grow, this new study, Setting the Stage for Community Change: Reflecting on Creative Placemaking Outcomes, commissioned by the Levitt Foundation and led by Slover Linett Audience Research, examines how “creative placemaking” interventions build social capital in communities, using permanent outdoor Levitt music venues as case studies. This research offers insights into arts-based strategies to promote social connectivity, a central goal of many creative placemaking efforts, and is a working illustration of what can and can’t be learned from different impact measurement approaches.