The CowParade, Raising Millions for Non-Profits through Creativity Since 1999

CowParade Austin 2011 Happy People

The CowParade is the largest and most successful public art event in the world. Since the first CowParade in 1999, events have been staged in over 32 countries and 75 cities worldwide, and over $20 million has been raised to help support crucial and life-saving non-profit organizations.

The first time I heard about the CowParade, I immediately thought of the obvious–why cows? Turns out that this art display and event is the only CowParade, and not the PigParade or the OstrichParade, or a parade of statues of any other animals, because cows are just universally recognized and liked. Everyone knows what a cow is, most children begin their vocabulary with the word “Moo,” and cows are generally non-threatening animals that can easily elicit happiness in the people who see them. All of those reasons are why if you ever see a CowParade, you will see large, three-dimensional fiberglass cows being used as the canvas for innovative and extremely talented artists sharing their creative vision with their community while helping to raise money for a great cause. In fact, over 10,000 artists have expressed heir creativity in this unique way since the event’s inception, and thousands of children have been engaged in CowParade scholastic art competitions, making the CowParade a great outlet and opportunity for young artists as well as older artists.

In 2011, CowParade Austin raised $1.49 million while giving 40 incredibly artistic fiberglass cows new homes. In an attempt to get local companies excited about the event and compelled to sponsor the well-known cow sculptures, the US Money Reserve and its founder, Milton Verret, were presenting sponsors of the event, which helped to underwrite the initial costs for CowParade Austin.

After the three-month cow art display throughout the Austin area, the cows were auctioned off, with each cow being sold for an average of $7,500. That is an incredible payoff for the artists who created the art displays on cow statues, as well as for the non-profit organizations who benefited from the event. In CowParade Austin’s case, that was the Dell Children’s Medical Center’s Superhero Kids Fund, founded specifically to address quality of life issues for children and their families battling cancer and blood disorders.

This year, the CowParade will be touring many new venues around the world, including Brazil, Latvia, Northern Ireland, Shanghai, and Panama, among many others.

Have you ever seen a CowParade art event? What do you think of this outside-the-box way of raising money for non-profit organizations?

This is a sponsored post written by me. Incentive was provided to me, and opinions are my own.

Photo by CowParade Austin

6 thoughts on “The CowParade, Raising Millions for Non-Profits through Creativity Since 1999”

  1. This is my first time reading about the Cow Parade. When you gave the reason for why the cows I was like makes so much sense. Anyway, that makes money (legally- haha) to help others is wonderful in my book. I sure would like to see it.

  2. I’ve never seen a Cow Parade, but we had a similar concept for a Save the Tiger campaign here in India. About 50 artists were given fiber glass tigers to paint. These were then displayed across the country before being auctioned to corporates. A very interesting concept!

    1. I have never heard of the Save the Tiger campaign, but it is really interesting that there is an art event like the Cow Parade going on in India, and that art that was carefully created by artists is being used to raise money for companies and organizations that need the funding.

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