Up to the minute news on arts and business partnerships.


Business Giving is on the Rise, According to Giving in Numbers: 2014 Edition

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

CECP, in association with The Conference Board, has recently released Giving in Numbers: 2014 Edition, the leading annual analysis of corporate giving and employee engagement patterns.

What are the new trends in corporate giving? 


  • Giving increased for 64% of companies since the end of the Great Recession (from 2010 to 2013), but growth has slowed in recent years, exhibiting the smallest marginal increases in giving in 2013.
  • The most generous companies, those in the top 25% or top quartile of giving, gave a minimum of $53.8 million, or 1.95% of Pre-Tax Profits, in 2013.
  • Companies that increased giving since 2010 also improved business performance in that same time frame; companies that increased giving by more than 10% since 2010 also increased median revenues by 11% from 2010 to 2013. 
  • Non-cash giving increased in recent years, driven in part by expansion of Pro Bono Service programs; 34% of companies offered a domestic Pro Bono Service program in 2010, compared to 50% in 2013, with every industry represented in the study for the first time. 


The annual Giving in Numbers report is based on data drawn from the Giving in Numbers Survey, a peer benchmarking tool for corporate giving professionals. This year’s report is based on data from 261 companies, including 62 of the largest 100 companies in the Fortune 500.

To help celebrate Pro Bono Week (10/19-10/25) and to learn more about the practice, of which Giving in Numbers addresses on page 25, please also see Taproot Foundation’s new report, Key Trends to Watch: The Next Wave of Growth in Corporate Pro Bono Service.


For more information on the motivations behind business giving to the arts, download the BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts.


INFOGRAPHIC: CECP Shows Corporate Societal Engagement is a Sound Business Strategy

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

CECP has released the inaugural Giving in Numbers Brief, drawn from company-reported data to the Giving in Numbers Survey, conducted in association with The Conference Board, which presents an annual profile of corporate philanthropy. See the infographic below, and visit CECP for more information on Giving in Numbers.


CECP infographic


Business Support for the Arts

Posted by Lane Harwell

It is not coincidental that New York is a business and cultural capital; business and the arts are one. Arts and culture improve livability, drive tourism and economic development, and make the city desirable for businesses and their employees. Robust and strategic corporate giving is critical to realizing these and more deliverables.


To better understand and to advocate for corporate giving, the organization I run, Dance/NYC, has produced its first-ever corporate giving snapshot, which is based on the New York State Cultural Data Project (CDP) and an extension of our recent State of NYC Dance (2013).


The snapshot is, in part, a response to the Wall Street Journal headline “Corporate Support for Dance Wanes,” sparked by our first CDP report released in 2011. It is also a response to more recent studies by the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) and by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy, which suggest the opposite; in fact, based on their sources, corporate giving may be up.


Dance/NYC’s new CDP findings reveal an uneven patchwork of growth and decline in corporate giving to dance makers in the five boroughs at the core of our analysis. The amount received “in donations from corporations, including grants, funds and matching gifts” (source: CDP) grew 7.7 percent in the aggregate from 2009 to 2011. Corporate donations benefit dance makers of all budget sizes, and equal 5.1 percent of their total private contributions.


The welcome story of growth over time is, however, tied exclusively to giving to the largest dance makers, with budgets of more than $5M. Those with smaller budgets all reported losses, and for dance makers in the $100K-$1M range, the aggregate loss exceeded 50 percent. This variation by budget size bucks the trends found for other sources; for instance, dance makers with budgets of less than $5M report gains in public funds, and groups in nearly every budget category increased their total private contributions.


We are in discovery mode. The findings do not tell the full story of business support for dance in our City, which includes in-kind contributions and special events income. Readers of State of NYC Dance (2013) report will note that special event income to dance makers is up 8 percent, and in-kind contributions are of special value to the smallest groups, with budgets $25K-$99K, who are demonstrating considerable resourcefulness.


But the corporate giving findings are an entry point for discussion to advance the state of the field in our City. For policy makers, they may encourage new thinking about public/private partnerships and messaging to local businesses. Dance makers, I urge you to act on another opportunity identified in the BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts (2013): 96 percent of business contributions to the arts are allocated locally. Consider the Dance/NYC findings as a tool for advocacy and awareness building for your work, and as a reminder to engage local businesses and grow your corporate giving.


Finally, for corporate funders, the findings are an invitation not only to renew and increase your commitments to dance and culture, but also to join Dance/NYC and our constituents in an effort to better understand and meet your priorities. Together, we can – and will- do more to make the case for corporate giving.


(This article, originally posted on the Huffington Post, is one in a weekly serieshighlighting the pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Visit our websiteto find out how both businesses and local arts agencies can get involved!)


Corporate Funding Came Back After the Recession, But Did it Leave the Arts Behind?

Posted by Michael Stroik

While a new report shows that the global recession shifted funding away from the arts, is there a silver lining in how companies have changed their view of investing in communities?  CECP, in association with The Conference Board, recently released Giving in Numbers: 2013 Edition, an annual analysis of corporate giving trends among the world’s largest businesses. Despite a slow economic recovery, the majority of companies gave more in 2012 than in 2007, before the recession, yet the majority of funders decreased their funding of the arts. Companies decreased arts funding annually in each year from 2007 to 2012. The steepest declines occurred in 2008 and 2009, at the height of the global recession.


The news is not all bad for arts organizations. While the majority of arts funders have decreased funding, many continue their support today. In fact, behind only education and health and social services organizations, more companies supported the arts than any other program area in 2012, albeit at lower financial levels (Giving in Numbers, page 20). Revenues and profits have increased for large businesses since 2009, and giving budgets are expected to grow in coming years.


The shift away from the arts is likely related to many factors and trends occurring across the corporate philanthropy field. Companies aim to drive measurable societal impact with each grant, and many focus efforts on single program areas with the hope of moving the needle on specific societal problems. So why haven’t arts agencies reaped the benefits of an increased focus on individual program areas? Based on our research, there are a variety of reasons. Most notably: 


  1. The Recession: During the recession it was no surprise that the fastest growing program area was community and economic development. The world’s largest businesses aimed to support community efforts to rejuvenate local economies. The hope was that economic growth, no matter how small, could spur consumer confidence and pay dividends for companies in the long-run. Many companies prioritized these programs over arts initiatives in the last half decade.
  2. Education Issues in America: CECP’s research sample is global but 92% of companies are based in the United States and focus the majority of funds domestically. In 2012, education support topped the list of program areas supported by large businesses for the first time since CECP first published Giving in Numbers in 2006.  American students are falling behind global peers in math and science achievement, and companies are concerned about the future of the American employee base. In addition, the racial achievement gap in student test scores (click here for more information) spotlights the social justice factors that are at stake when dealing with education programs.
  3. Non-Cash Giving: In-kind contributions, consisting primarily of product donations and pro bono service, accounted for more than 95% of aggregate giving growth from 2007 to 2012. Arts agencies often have fewer opportunities to work with bulk product donations; only 4% of corporate contributions to arts agencies came in the form of non-cash gifts in 2012. See Figure 11 (page 20) for more details.

So what can we learn from these trends to help secure future arts funding? As the field of corporate community engagement expands, arts agencies should focus on their societal impact on communities, including the educational benefits of arts programming for disadvantaged children, when approaching large businesses for funding partnerships. Arts agencies should also emphasize the strong benefits their programs have for corporate employees that engage with them. Whether this includes volunteer offerings or arts performances at corporate offices, make sure corporate giving officers understand how your work will benefit their workforce in a variety of ways.

If you work for an arts agency, have you received less funding from large corporations since 2007? How do you plan to align with corporate funders in the future?  We would love your feedback on our findings --


(This post, originally published in The Line is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Visit our website to find out how both businesses and local arts agencies can get involved!) - See more at:

(This post is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage.)


Power of Storytelling for Social Change

Posted by Wendy Hawkins

It is hard to imagine a more visceral and impactful medium for connecting to an audience than film.  And if our goal is to bring about social change, what better medium for getting people to step up and take action than a well-made film?


I had the pleasure last week of participating on a panel on the topic of storytelling for social change – particularly around documentary films – at the 2013 CECP Summit.  There Joe Brewster told of the 13 years he and his wife spent filming their own son and his best friend as they embarked with great anticipation on the journey of their elementary and high school education – a journey that took them to some darker places and greater challenges than they had ever anticipated for this much loved son of a middle class African American family in New York City.  American Promise is deeply moving and delivers tough messages about the role of assumptions and biases in defining the world in which these boys grow up – beyond the ability of their parents to shape and control.


Rashid Shabazz of the Open Society Foundations and Program Officer for Black Male Achievement told of the process by which he and his foundation decided that this film had the potential to move audiences in ways that other, more traditional grants might never reach.


Holly Gordon, Executive Producer of “Girl Rising” told of the evolution of a concept from its birth through the iterative creative process.  She talked extensively about the role that Intel, as partner and sponsor, played in supporting the production in ways that exceeded anything that either partner originally anticipated.


This gorgeous and powerful film stands as testament to the impact that a brilliantly conceived and executed film can have.  Audiences are building over time with hundreds of thousands more to see the film as it airs on CNN on Fathers’ Day, June 16, and around the world in coming months.


While the panel – under the deft guidance of moderator, Dawn Porter, a filmmaker in her own right and founder of Trilogy Films – was open and honest about the challenges of partnership between filmmaker/artists and funder/corporations, agreement was clear that the process and the product were worth the strains of learning to speak one another’s jargon, march to a different drummer, and bridge the cultural chasms between our experiences.


In our case at Intel, we were not only learning to work with the filmmakers, but were building and managing an internal coalition encompassing Corporate Affairs, HR and Corporate Marketing.  While we are very comfortable with the public-private partnership externally, there are subtle differences in working with internal partners!  We are all still very much engaged in this partnership, and are all agreed that our significant joint dollar investment has been generously repaid whether measured in employee loyalty and new hire recruitment, in public awareness and accolades, or in making a genuine impact of our goals of improving education access for girls worldwide.


In the case of the filmmakers and the 10X10 action campaign they created, they will tell you about the support beyond cash that was instrumental in helping them reach their goals: marketing expertise, introductions at the World Economic Forum and other global venues, employee volunteers in countries all around the world, and much more.

We all count ourselves willing and ready to share more of the behind-the-scenes (literally!), nitty-gritty experience of our efforts.  We encourage more corporate givers to consider film as advocacy and filmmakers as grant recipients, and partnerships internal and external to bring the film to life.  The benefits can  exceed your most ambitious expectations.


*This post was originally published by CECP on 3BL Media on Friday, June 14, 2013.


(This post, originally published on by CECP on 3BL Media on Friday, June 14, 2013, is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. - See more at:

Join Us for a Webinar on Trends in Business Support for the Arts

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

WEBINAR: Business Speak-Can we talk? Trends in Business Support for the Arts 

Thursday, July 18, 3-4pm ET


Learn trends in business support for the arts from our newly released 2013 BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts. This study explores how and why small, midsize and large businesses partner with the arts. Experts in corporate giving will discuss how these trends fit into the current landscape and how you can leverage this information. 


Speakers: Mark Shugoll, Chief Executive Officer, Shugoll Research; Michael Stroik, Senior Research Analyst, Research and Measurement, CECP

Moderator: Maud Lyon, Executive Director CultureSource


As an additional resource, check out the CECP's Giving in Numbers: 2012 Edition, a profile of corporate philanthropy in 2011 with specific detail on how corporate giving is evolving and becoming more focused.


To learn more and to register, visit Americans for the Arts webinars.


(Photo credit: Golden Artist Colors.)


Ahead, Together: Corporate Philanthropy and the Arts

Posted by Jordan Lohf

The powerful impact the arts can have on social change and business objectives was showcased for corporate giving officers from around the country last week thanks to a deepening partnership between Americans for the Arts and CECP. Held in New York City, the annual CECP Summit brought together over 250 of the senior-most giving officers from 130 of the world’s largest companies to hear exciting new research, discuss successes and challenges, and gain fresh perspectives and insights on how they can better impact workplaces, communities, and society while also advancing business.


With similar interests in data and research, and a shared belief that the arts can not only raise the quality of life, but also advance corporate strategies, CECP, with the help of Americans for the Arts, infused the annual summit for the second year with memorable arts performances, which I heard brought up in conversation again and again by summit attendees. This year, music, theatre, dance, and film provided an artistic beat to the summit, providing great examples of how art can be used to solve problems across sectors and industries.


Ahead, Together, this year’s conference theme, was a perfect metaphor for how the arts can advance society, build community, and drive economies.  President and CEO of Americans for the Arts Robert L. Lynch spoke to this idea at the opening reception when he said, “Business and arts partnerships show the powerful intersection among creativity, economic success, and community health,” a statement well-supported by the fact that 26 previous honorees of the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America were represented at the conference.


Aetna’s corporate jazz band, which provided the entertainment of the night at the opening reception, was the first example of how the arts can be used to inspire creativity in employees, add value to communities, and recruit new workforce. Comprised of five self-proclaimed “I.T. guys,” the jazz band played with the confidence and charisma of a well-seasoned professional ensemble as guests listened and mingled. (Photo courtesy of CECP.)

Aetna Jazz Band. Photo courtesy of CECP.
Aetna Jazz Band. Photo courtesy of CECP.


Christopher A. Montross, managing director of corporate public involvement at the Aetna Foundation, suggested all businesses ask their employees what they are passionate about and how they want to share those passions with the community. For Aetna employees, the healing powers of music led them to form a wind ensemble as an outlet to express their feelings after the tragedy of 911. Twelve years later, the company now has active participation in their corporate wind ensemble, jazz band, and gospel choir. 


Next, established NYC dance company Battery Dance presented the prolific work it is achieving through the use of modern dance as a change agent. “The quest has taken us to 60 countries on 6 continents with interactive cultural diplomacy programs in partnership with U.S. Embassies, and often, American corporations,” said Emad Salem, deputy director for international programs at Battery Dance. “We put the tools of choreography into the hands of young people and leave behind stepping stones for creative pursuits as well as increased self-confidence, team-work skills, and leadership skills.”


(Video courtesy of Battery Dance Company.)


On the final day of the conference, actor, playwright, and teaching artist Nilaja Sun performed an excerpt from her Obie Award winning solo piece “No Child…,” which depicted her experiences as a teaching artist in public schools in the South Bronx. Fully captivated, the audience not only stopped looking at their phones, but also produced several audible gasps of awe as Sun seamlessly weaved between multiple characters during her performance. (Photo courtesy of CECP.)


Between scenes, Sun broke character to emotionally describe the transformational quality of the arts. “The arts are the only subjects that teach our kids how to be human; they teach empathy, basic communication so lacking in our digital age, and stick-to-itiveness.”  Her speech and performance were received with a standing ovation and several sets of misty eyes in the crowd, mine included.


Businesses and arts organizations large and small need to take note of the opportunities and impact mutually beneficial partnerships can create.  As said by Robert L. Lynch, “Some ideas, tough realities, and new ways of thinking are best captured through artists’ medium.”  So for the sake of progress, access, and better business, let’s move ahead, together.


What's Better than a List? A List of Lists!

Posted by Emily Peck

The latest CECP (Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy) Giving in Numbers study, conducted in association with The Conference Board, shows that giving to the arts continues to receive 5% of the allocations from corporations. This number held steady from the 2010 study. Overall corporate giving has started to rebound as 60% of the companies surveyed gave more in 2011 than in 2009.


Companies gave larger grants to fewer organizations and often focused on a single issue area like education. Health, education, and community and economic development were top priorities for companies. Companies also focused more on employee engagement and matching gifts. 83% of companies offered a matching gift program and 85% had a volunteer program. According to Charles Moore the Executive Director of CECP, “Our analysis this year shows that companies are becoming more focused about their giving: from larger grants to a smaller number of organizations; to giving where they have community connections; to using the skills and expertise of the business to build their community engagement.”


It is great to see support for the arts holding steady but as businesses continue to look at decreasing their areas of focus and 47% of respondents expect their company’s giving to remain unchanged we need to continue making the case for the value of the arts to business. During this past year, we have compiled a number of lists to provide arts organizations and businesses with reasons on how and why to partner.


What’s better than a list? A list of lists! Here are the top 4 lists of lists (AKA the top 33 reasons/ideas/ways) to create meaningful relationships between arts and business. These sources should help you start, build and strengthen your partnerships with business.


1.    8 Reasons to pARTner with the Arts: On our pARTnership Movement website we provide 8 reasons why partnering with the arts makes business sense.
2.    10 Ideas to Create a Moment with Business: Margot Knight offers 10 suggestions for arts organizations to connect with the business community.
3.    10 Reasons to Support the Arts: In his popular blog post, Randy Cohen provides 10 reasons for businesses to support the arts.
4.    5 Ways the Arts Can Combat Flat Corporate Giving: Marisa Muller updates the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of tips for fundraisers to focus on the arts.


Which reasons resonate in your community? What are we missing? 

What Counts in Corporate Giving

Posted by Marisa Muller

The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) recently released The Global Guide to What Counts: A Defining Moment for Corporate Giving, which will enable a major shift away from corporations’ reliance on various country tax codes to determine what counts as a contribution that benefits society—a reliance that has complicated the practice of tracking international giving.  The Global Guide provides corporations with a much needed tool to allow more efficient measurement of corporate giving on a global scale.


CECP, with pro bono assistance from Deloitte, created a Global Corporate Giving Initiative to review giving standards in 17 countries—those with the  greatest concentrations of headquarters of the largest companies in the world--and establish a single, precise characterization of the types of organizations that can be counted within corporate contributions programs.  The results of the Global Corporate Giving Initiative, contained in the Global Guide, summarize eligible organizations in a markedly more user-friendly and inclusive way to be: 1) formally organized; 2) existing for charitable purpose; and 3) never distributing profits.  Findings also provide specific details on all three criteria including the activities and purposes of eligible organizations.


“The Global Guide is vital as it will allow companies in the Global 2000—the world’s biggest companies--to better measure and think more strategically about the societal engagement work they are doing all over the world,” stated Charles Moore, Executive Director, CECP.  “We seek to unlock the potential of corporations to further engage with the global communities that benefit from their talent and resources by establishing a single, accessible standard.”


To read the press release in its entirety, please visit, or you can also download the report.


Corporate Giving to the Arts: Making the Strategic Connection

Posted by Margaret Coady
Corporate Giving to the Arts: Making the Strategic Connection

Though it may seem counterintuitive the first time you hear it, grantmakers and philanthropists will tell you the same thing: giving money away is hard work. Or more precisely, the hard work is allocating funds thoughtfully and with seriousness about making a real difference.


My role as director of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) puts me in close contact with the corporate giving officers who oversee the philanthropic budgets of the largest companies in the country and world, and in my seven years here I’ve come to understand some of their core challenges.


While many of the hurdles are tactical—giving officers typically work on small teams responsible for coordinating hundreds of grants across multiple countries—often the harder part of the job is more fundamental: setting and maintaining a coherent corporate giving strategy.


Who and what will the company fund? Why those causes and not others? Why those grantees and not others?


The rationale for the funding decisions must be rock-solid. After all, it can be difficult to explain to employees, shareholders, and others why a company can continue grantmaking in an economic climate in which they are simultaneously laying off workers and shutting down regional offices.


In the process of setting these corporate giving strategies, historical data shows that giving to the arts is often lost in the long shadow of significant giving to health, social services, and education.


Since CECP began collecting data on trends in corporate giving, contributions to arts and culture have hovered between five percent and eight percent of the typical company’s annual giving.


Year after year, the story is sadly the same: companies are not prioritizing the arts.

Yet we know from the great work of Americans for the Arts that business clearly benefits from communities made vibrant by an active creative culture. Not only do the arts enliven the cities and neighborhoods where employees live and work, which supports employee recruitment and retention, but also arts organizations can be important partners to companies in marketing, diversity programs, and team-building programs, among so many other ways.


Why don’t companies give more to the arts in light of the clear societal and business benefits of doing so?


The National Survey of Business Support to the Arts has the most comprehensive national accounting of the reasons, but the theme that emerges seems to be that companies have not felt the impact strategically. According to the survey, when they give to the arts, the majority do so because it is “the right thing to do.”


For those of us who share a passion for arts and culture, we know the conversation needs to change—not only is corporate support of the arts “the right thing to do”—but also it is a strategic thing to do, too.


This thinking is at the very heart of The pARTnership Movement’s excellent online case studies and resources.


Unlocking a higher level of arts funding may require companies and their arts partners to engage in innovative project design that makes impact of an arts grant more tangible to the company.


The data shows that 53 percent of companies are not taking advantage of programs such as employee volunteer opportunities at arts organizations, art exhibitions or performances in the workplace, board service at arts organizations, free or discounted tickets to arts events, and even corporate art collections.


Stepping back, it struck me that 99 percent of all arts funding is in the form of cash grants. Yet from CECP’s data we know that nearly 20 percent of all corporate giving is product donations or pro bono service.


Might there be an untapped opportunity here? Can programs be developed that blend the cash grants that are so important, but also make greater use of employee volunteers, pro bono service, company facilities, and product donations, as other nonprofits are doing in other funding areas?


Managing volunteers and product donations can sometimes overwhelm a recipient organization, and I am not suggesting that arts organizations lose sight of their core priorities as they seek greater corporate support; but, when planned for and managed appropriately, programs that blend funding types can have mission benefits that far exceed cash grants alone.


The arts community and business share an important key asset: a mindset of risk-taking, excellence, creativity, and innovation.


I encourage these two communities to take another look at how programs might be conceived and delivered that capitalize on all of the many societal benefits of arts grantmaking in a manner that the company and its employees can engage with directly, which when done well may be more strategic for all involved.


(Visit CECP’s website for more information about their work.)


*This post is part of a pARTnership Movement series on ARTSblog.


Photo from 2011 BCA 10 winner and CECP member Macy's support of "Random Acts of Culture" with the Knight Foundation at the Macy's store in Philadelphia.


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