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Paint the World You Want to See

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Paint the World You Want to See

Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. In addition to their contribution to humanity through their work, they also show their generosity with their Genentech Gives Back program

 

With this program, they created Genentech Gives Back Week which is an amazing company-wide volunteering effort that supports local schools and nonprofits. On June 18, 2016, HandsOn Bay Area led over 200 Genentech employees in a day of volunteering at Sunshine Gardens Elementary in South San Francisco. Volunteers painted a new healthy fruits and vegetables mural, built an instructional garden classroom and painted new blacktop lines and games. Take a look at the video of the mural’s development and of this unique opportunity to give back to the community while also showing off their creative skills. The mural is a beautiful contribution to the school community. 

 

Now in its third year, Genentech Gives Back is a unique opportunity to take time from employees’ busy schedules to support the communities where they live and work and to reconnect with colleagues in the spirit of giving. Genentech Gives Back Week is designed to demonstrate that commitment on a much larger scale and is a great example of how partnering with the arts contributes to society and the quality of life.

 

Photo: Genentech Gives Back website.

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In the Business of Volunteering for the Arts

Posted by Chris Zheng
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In the Business of Volunteering for the Arts

Business professionals have a lot to offer arts nonprofits, and volunteering time to the arts ensures a healthier and more vibrant community overall. Sometimes, it can be challenging to establish the first connections necessary to get business-minded people working with arts organizations.

 

M Powered Strategies, one of Americans for the Arts’ BCA10 honorees for its commitment to the arts, has recently partnered with Points of Light (POL) to put together a volunteer recruitment program called Coach2Action, which connects nonprofit organizations across the nation with project management professionals. M Powered Strategies President Kendall Lott worked with Project Management Professionals Janet Schwartz and Jessica Giles to design Coach2Action, training and coordinating coaches for the pilot program. Through Coach2Action, 30 nonprofits were paired with 60 project management coaches who were trained in project management maturity framework and were guided by M Powered Strategies best practices. Nonprofits in the program were able to learn through personalized two-on-one Skype counseling sessions for twenty hours.

 

The critical skills that arts nonprofits can gain from programs like Coach2Action ensure that they are able to function to the best of their ability- raising sufficient funds, interacting with donors and partners, and gaining the business skills necessary to grow their operations. More businesses every day are dedicating their time and skills to arts nonprofits, whether it is to build their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives or to simply work to improve the communities in which they operate. Volunteering for the arts also boosts employee morale, and engages them on new levels.

 

If you are looking for a place to start, look no further than Business Volunteers for the Arts, a national skills-based consultant program that pairs nonprofit arts groups with specially trained business executives who volunteer their time and skills to assist with distinct management projects.

 

Congratulations to M Powered Strategies for a groundbreaking volunteer recruitment program, and for being recognized as one of the top ten businesses in the country with an outstanding commitment to the arts!

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Arts Volunteering Paints a Better Business

Posted by Chris Zheng
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Arts Volunteering Paints a Better Business

Long-term growth in business is only possible if there is a thriving future in which that growth can occur. Businesses that realize this almost certainly have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plan or department, a company’s way of creating a vision for a compassionate company culture, supporting the creation of a sustainable and improved future for the community in which the business operates. CSR is taking off everywhere from small businesses to multinational corporations, and employee volunteer programs are the most popular method of engaging responsibly with the community.  

 

Currently, the average corporate volunteer participation rate now rests at about 31%, indicating that there is a lot of room for growth in the CSR sectors of businesses. Companies are finding ways to build employee participation in volunteerism through offering a wider array of charity and organization options. One of the most popular methods of volunteering- the arts.

 

Whether it is pro bono consulting or financial work with Business Volunteers for the Arts or simply going to a local arts organization and volunteering some time to staff an event or help prepare materials, volunteering with and for the arts is a perfect way to build a future of culture, creativity, and expression for employees and in the larger community.

The data backing up the importance of volunteer programs is clear–they are not only a great way to build an external company profile, but also an exemplary method for improving internal operations. Compiled data by Cybergrants, an employee engagement software developer, demonstrates that giving back also means getting back employee satisfaction and productivity. When polling employees on workplace failures, 97% cited a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as the root issue. 64% of employees who currently volunteer stated that volunteering with work peers strengthened their relationships.

 

The benefits don’t stop there. 78% of people who volunteer say that is reduces stress levels, promoting wellness and efficacy in work. In terms of personal development, 90% of HR executives agreed that contributing business skills and acumen to a non-profit can aid in the development of leadership skills. Additionally, volunteering out of the office certainly translates into direct benefits in the office. Studies show that a well-designed corporate social responsibility program can increase employee engagement by 7.5%, raise productivity 13%, and can even reduce turnover by 50%.

 

Incorporating the arts into CSR volunteer programs allow for employees to directly participate in improving their communities. Starting an employee volunteering program now is a decision that guarantees a flourishing future for the arts. 

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Engaging Employees Through the Arts is Good Business

Posted by Jordan Shue
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Engaging Employees Through the Arts is Good Business

Americans for the Arts knows that engaging business employees through volunteerism and the arts is key to fostering a desirable work environment, increasing efficiency and morale, and doing good in the community. For arts groups seeking to build deeper ties with the business community, offering to address the need to engage employees in their work can serve as a powerful tool and argument for why supporting the arts is a win-win for everyonethe company, its employees, your organization, and the entire community.

 

Americans for the Arts is thrilled to announce the release of the first three workbooks in a series dedicated to helping nonprofits start arts-based employee volunteer and engagement programs, including:

 

1.       The Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville’s WorkCreative, an arts-based training program that brings arts into the workplace by engaging employees in hands-on creativity to stimulate communication, build teamwork, and spark innovation for effective business growth.

2.       ArtsWave’s CincySings, a corporate arts challenge that brings arts into the workplace by creating a friendly, amateur singing competition featuring choirs of Cincinnati-based company employees.

3.       Americans for the Arts Business Volunteers for the Arts®program, a pro bono consulting program for arts organizations that operates in several cities around the United States.

 

If you’re trying to make the case to businesses in your area that using the arts can engage their employees, check out our one-pager advocacy tools, Six Ways to Use the Arts to Boost Employee Engagement and The Arts Boost Employee Engagement. Learn from practitioners who’ve taken the plunge, and work with us or on your own to do the same in your communities! Learn more.

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Spotlight on Arts & Business Partnerships in Chicago

Posted by Jordan Shue
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Spotlight on Arts & Business Partnerships in Chicago

The worlds of arts and business came together on June 13 during Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention Chicago, when three leaders from the local community came together for a session to discuss best practices in forming mutually beneficial partnerships.

 

Andrew Micheli, the Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Chicago; Raaja Nemani, the Co-Founder and CEO of BucketFeet; and Christine Hoisington, Director of Community Partnerships at Booz Allen Hamilton (a 2011 BCA 10 honoree), joined Americans for the Arts’ Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives, Emily Peck, for a frank conversation about what businesses want from partnerships with the arts.

 

Raaja Nemani, who co-founded BucketFeet four years ago after traveling around the world, spoke about the company’s work with Elizabeth’s Canvas, an arts organization dedicated to providing cancer patients, survivors, and their family members with free creative programs. BucketFeet, in addition to supporting arts groups, supports individual artists around the world by commissioning them to design shoes and other products, as well as accepting unsolicited proposals for new products. According to Nemani, “art is an agent of change…a way to bring different people together.”

 

Booz Allen Hamilton’s Christine Hoisington was very clear that businesses are not looking to sign checks for arts organizations; sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships are way to go. She suggested that since “arts organizations are the best to partner with for employee engagement,” groups could approach businesses with value-added propositions for how the arts can play into a businesses’ goals, rather than seek outright support through traditional means like donations and sponsorships. In addition to supporting the Environmental Film Festival, Booz Allen Hamilton employees volunteer and are involved each year in the event.

 

Employee engagement, particularly through skills-based volunteering, is the way the Arts & Business Council of Chicago began its operations 30 years ago today with its Business Volunteers for the Arts® program. Andrew Micheli spoke of the organization’s push to educate local arts organizations about forming arts and business partnerships. By fostering board placements, engaging business employees through professional volunteering, and more, the Arts & Business of Chicago serves as the local voice for arts in the business community.

 

For more information on partnering with business or building your message, browse through our tool-kits for arts groups.
 

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It's Pro Bono Day in New York: Give Back Your Time and Talent!

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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It's Pro Bono Day in New York: Give Back Your Time and Talent!

Business professionals seeking to give their time and skill set to organizations in need will come together today for Pro Bono Day in New York City--a daylong series of workshops and networking events revolving around skills-based volunteering opportunities, organized by the Taproot Foundation.

 

Many organizations that work to tackle social issues often have limited access to the marketing, design, technology, management or strategic planning resources they need to succeed. Pro bono opportunities allow business professionals to share their talents with the causes that are near and dear to them. The Taproot Foundation has partnered with the CECP to create industry standards and benchmarking for pro bono service. 30% of companies now report that they offer pro bono opportunities to employees.

 

Pro Bono Day is actually a week-long celebration, with events also happening in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Today in New York, the Arts & Business Council of New York has organized a panel discussion with speakers from arts organizations who will share their personal experiences with pro bono volunteers--how they developed and managed impactful projects and maintained lasting relationships.

 

Ready to get involved? Learn more about Americans for the Arts' leading pro bono program, Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA), which matches mid- to upper-level business professionals as pro bono consultants with arts organizations.

 

For more information on Pro Bono Day, including the Pro Bono Blog, visit TaprootFoundation.org.

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Volunteer Opportunities Help Employers Attract Talent, Report Says

Posted by Samantha Sharon
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Attracting young talent to a company may be linked to the company’s opportunities for workplace giving and volunteerism. A recent article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy cites the results of the 2014 Millennial Impact Report – a survey administered to 1,500 employed millenials between the ages of 20 and 34 by Achieve.org – which reveals that large percentages of this age group say that a company’s volunteer policies affected their decisions to both apply for a job and accept certain offers. In the article, President of Achieve, Derrick Feldmann, explains that millenials are “blending who they are, what they do, what they stand for, and the causes and things they care about into the workplace.” Ultimately, job-seeking millennials are looking for opportunities that will allow them to better themselves and the world at large, which in turn creates an engaging work enviroment. Click on the link below to read the full article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy. (Photo courtesy of Humana.)

 

Volunteer Opportunities Help Employers Attract Talent, Report Says

 

At Americans for the Arts, we understand how embracing a culture of volunteerism can benefit a business. Our Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) program encourages businesses to engage in volunteering opportunities in the arts as a way to attract new talent to the company while simultaneously increasing the satisfaction and broadening the experience of current employees. BVA works by pairing nonprofit arts organizations with business professionals who volunteer their time and skills to assist with unique projects, helping employees feel more engaged on the job, learn new skills and make new connections.

 

Visit Americans for the Arts' BVA page to learn more about the BVA program and how you can get involved.

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It's National Volunteer Week!

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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National Volunteer Week is this week -- April 6-12, 2014. A program of Points of Light and sponsored by Advil® as a part of the Advil® Relief in Action campaign, National Volunteer Week is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change. This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Volunteer Week, demonstrating the enduring importance of recognizing our country’s volunteers for their vital contributions. We encourage everyone to celebrate volunteers' dedication to helping others this week, and encouraging others to join the movement.

 

Inspired to begin a volunteer program in your community, or to find out how you can get involved? Check out Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA), which matches skills-based business volunteers with projects at arts organizations, and our tool-kit, "Working with Volunteers."

 

For more information on National Volunteer Week, visit PointsOfLight.org.

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Business and the arts: Why they need each other

Posted by Karin Copeland
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The goals of the arts, culture and creative sectors are often viewed as separate from or counter to those of the business community. The Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia is working hard to change this perception and build a wide, two-way bridge between these communities by creating awareness around the impact of creativity in the workplace and the contributions of arts and culture to a thriving economy.

 

The creative sector fuels exciting, vibrant lifestyles for citizens in the Philadelphia region; and the colorful, intriguing cultural life of Philadelphia drives people to move into the city, building a stronger hiring pool. Likewise, the business communities feed critical experience and resources into the lives of artists and art-making institutions. This is why the Arts & Business Council envisions a vibrant creative sector with strong leadership — in terms of professional staff and volunteer board leaders — and a cultural scene that continues to be one of our region’s greatest assets. Through our capacity-building services, we work every day to strengthen a creative sector that is already valued for how it enriches the quality of life in our region, the jobs it creates, the visitors it attracts, and the impact is has on our children. And we champion the cause of a creative sector that has the support of audiences, businesses, donors, volunteers and government agencies.

 

According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year — $63.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences across the nation. According to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s 2012 report, Southeastern Pennsylvania’s cultural organizations and their audiences have a combined impact of $3.3 billion on the region’s economy. With such a massive amount of revenue generated by arts and culture; more attention should be paid to future planning in these sectors. The benefits of strong artistic sectors stretch beyond revenue, as recent studies from Greater Good show that involvement in the arts helps increase critical and creative thinking. Cities that have implemented creative sector plans have seen an increase in growth and support, including support from the private sector, according to research by the city of Chicago.

 

Creating a unified plan toward arts, cultural and creative economy improvement for our region would not only benefit the arts communities—it would improve local business and economy as well. Programs such as the pARTnership movement, an initiative of Americans for the Arts, support the partnering of the arts and business communities to promote strength between two differing groups. The pARTnership movement points out that when the arts prosper in a community, the citizens of that community prosper as well. Notably, employers look for creative individuals who can approach problems in different ways and employees are more likely to work in areas where the arts and culture thrive.

 

Our vision is to keep working toward a time when this unified plan can be realized by continuing our work to unite the arts and business sectors in the Greater Philadelphia through shared experiences and resources; creating a solid foundation for the future of the creative economy in Philadelphia. We’ve been doing this for more than 30 years through skills-based volunteer programs that have delivered high-impact management and technology consulting projects—Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) and Technology Connectors; through the region’s most comprehensive nonprofit board-training program for business and legal professionals—Business On Board; and through the pro bono legal services delivered to arts groups and individual artists through Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. We know from experience that great things happen when arts and business people get together—problems are solved, eyes are opened, long-lasting relationships are forged:

 

  • Ask Andrew Kurtz, General & Artistic Director of Center City Opera Theater, how much his organization has benefited from the wisdom of BVA Volunteer and recently retired business executive Dorien Smithsonin rethinking his organization’s business model. Or ask Dorien, already an opera-goer, how much she enjoys flexing her business muscles in a whole new setting, knowing she’s having a positive impact on an arts group whose work she appreciates.
  • Ask Christine Cox, Co-Artistic Director of BalletX, how much she values the addition of a professional CPA to her board, someone who took the time to learn what board service means and has quickly stepped up to a leadership role as board treasurer. Or ask 2013 Business On Board graduate Frances Sperling Feldbaum, Principal at St. Clair CPA Solutions, what a great time her clients and business associates had when she hosted them at a BalletX dress rehearsal last month.
  • Ask Ricardo Torres, Senior Manager with North Highland, Technology Connectors volunteer and amateur photographer, how inspiring it was to work on behalf of one of our region’s premier visual arts organizations, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Or ask Executive Director Jane Goldenhow much it mattered to have Ric working with her staff to help them with a new constituent database, guiding the needs assessment, RFP process, vendor bidding and contract negotiations.
  • Ask BVA Volunteer Mindy Mazer, Senior Manager of Corporate Staffing at Ametek, how much fun she has had readings books to children at Mighty Writers. Or ask Executive Director Tim Whitakerwhat it meant to his young organization to have someone with Mindy’s skills help them formalize employee policies and procedures. Someone who believes so much in the work of the organization that she recently joined its board.
  • Ask PVLA Volunteer Hans Smith, Intellectual Property Associate at BakerHostetler, how satisfying it was to defend local photographer Harry Saffren in a fair use dispute with a national media company. Or ask Saffren about the “above and beyond” impact that Smith had on Saffren’s ability to sort out his artistic rights and responsibilities in a nebulous area of law and move forward with his career.

 

Recently, we’ve been taking steps to engage even more arts and business professionals in conversations that have the potential to strengthen our region’s creative economy. We’ve added speaker forums and other special events that underscore themes of creativity and innovation, this year we’re hosting top TED speakers like Simon Sinekand Dan Pallottaand iconic media leaders like Arianna Huffington. These events often blur the lines between what has traditionally been considered arts or business thinking. This spring we will launch Designing Leadership, a professional development program, in partnership with IBM and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, for emerging leaders from both the nonprofit and for-profit creative communities. We believe programs like these — and the conversations they engender – are essential to the success of our region as a whole.

 

(This article was originally posted at the Philadelphia Business Journal.)

 

*This article was posted on ARTSblog.

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Arizona Citizens for the Arts Relaunches Business Volunteers Arts

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA), a program matching business professionals with arts organizations needing skills-based consulting expertise to meet their mission and expand their impact in the community, was “relaunched” by Arizona Citizens for the Arts at a celebration during Pro Bono Week this past October. BVA suspended operations in 2012 with the closing of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Phoenix. With funding from Wells Fargo and under management by Arizona Citizens for the Arts, BVA was reintroduced to the community at a celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at Wells Fargo History Museum  in downtown Phoenix.

 

“Business Volunteers for the Arts® brings together professionals in a range of business specialties with arts organizations looking for specific skills to help build their capacity, improve their business practices and assist in growth and reach,” said Catherine “Rusty” Foley, executive director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts.

 

BVA volunteers provide support in areas of expertise including accounting, finance, law, marketing, public relations, human resources, strategic planning, information technology, graphic design and event planning. BVA provides full training for volunteers before matching them with arts organizations. For now, Foley said matches will be limited to organizations operating in the City of Phoenix.

 

Funding for the relaunch was provided by Wells Fargo through a $50,000 NeighborhoodLIFT grant.

 

“Community support is at the heart of Wells Fargo’s Vision & Values and we are proud to support nonprofits like Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts in their efforts to help strengthen and stabilize Phoenix communities,” said Pam Conboy, Wells Fargo Arizona Lead Regional President.

 

Click to view the following video from Arizona Horizon, which includes an interview with Robin Hanson, a business volunteer from Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts, detailing the program's relaunch in Arizona.

 

 

You, too, can launch Business Volunteers for the Arts® in your own community! Arts organizations and volunteers interested in participating in Business Volunteers for the Arts® can visit AmericansForTheArts.org to submit an application.

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New York Celebrates "Pro Bono Day" This Wednesday, October 23
Oct 21, 2013 0 Comments
(Photo coursty of ProBonoDayNYC.org.)   Professionals seeking community involvement will come together for Pro Bono Day in New York City this Wednesday, October 23rd. In this daylong series of workshops and networking events...
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Strategies to Build Your Business Volunteer Army
Apr 18, 2013 0 Comments
Volunteers are a critical component of any arts organization. From ushers to fundraising, to pro-bono consulting and board service, volunteers expand the capacity of a nonprofit. Congruently, volunteering is a key component of...
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Introducing Flywheel, Sacramento's First Arts Incubator
Dec 06, 2012 0 Comments
On June 1, the Arts & Business Council (ABC) of Sacramento launched Flywheel, the region’s first creative economy incubator.   For 25 years, ABC of Sacramento has run the Business Volunteers for the Arts program, facilitating...
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Private Sector Survey Says. . .
Aug 17, 2012 0 Comments
Are you interested in learning what our business-focused affiliates have been paying attention to this year?   Respondents of the annual Private Sector Survey were asked to answer questions regarding their programs and initiatives...
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