Up to the minute news on arts and business partnerships.


INFOGRAPHIC: Arts Sponsorship Spending is on the Rise in 2014, According to IEG

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

According to IEG, sponsorship spending on the arts is expected to grow 1.4 percent in 2014, down from 2.6 percent in 2013. While corporate interest remains high, spending growth is hampered by organizations that continue to sell need-based sponsorships, not marketing-driven solutions. Vist to view the englarged infographic.


For more information on the motivations behind why businesses are supporting the arts, download the BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts.


(Image courtesy of

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.


Aligning Goals for Better pARTnerships

Posted by Marisa Muller
Aligning Goals for Better pARTnerships

Luna Negra Dance Theater’s decision to diversify its programming not only complements Luna Negra's mission to nurture and expand audiences' understanding of Latino culture, but also has also prompted the company to seek out a diverse group of corporate funders, including Boeing Co., Discover Financial Services Inc., Allstate, and Mercedes-Benz.

Contributions rose nearly ten percent from 2010 to 2011 to a total of $738,103, with almost all of the increase coming from new corporate support. The key to Luna Negra’s success is engaging businesses whose philanthropic goals align with their own, says Joanna Naftali, the company’s executive director. “It's not that you're creating programs that you think they will like, it's that you're targeting corporations that you think might be interested in what you do,” Ms. Naftali says.


The company's strategies for approaching corporations are case-by-case and each corporate sponsor supports a different aspect of Luna Negra's programming. Allstate and Mercedes-Benz helped with last fall's performance at the Harris Theater and the gala that followed. Aligning with its goals toward encouraging innovation, Boeing provided support for the edgier Luna Nueva series at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. For Discover Financial Services, which supports Luna Negra's year-round DanceReach program in Chicago Public Schools as well as its children's programming, Luna Niños, both initiatives dovetail with the corporation's focus on education and families.


Luna Negra “really understands what corporations are looking for in a partnership: great organization, high quality, evidence of results, impact,” says Kathryn Beiser, Discover's vice president of corporate communications, of the tangible effect the company's work in the Chicago public school system has on students. “We want to make sure our investments are making a difference.”


To read the full article, please visit:


Corporate support waxes for Luna Negra was originally posted on on June 4, 2012.

Author: Meribah Knight 


*Photo courtesy of Toby Otter.


Across the Pond: Offering Insight into Culture’s Value for Corporate Sponsors

Posted by Marisa Muller
Across the Pond: Offering Insight into Culture’s Value for Corporate Sponsors

Here are a few excerpts from “Live chat roundup: What is culture’s value for our corporate sponsors?” by Matthew Caines, featuring the best comments and insights from The Guardian’s May 25, 2012 live chat on corporate sponsorship in the arts and heritage sectors.

You can read the article in its entirety here.

Philip Spedding, director, Arts & Business
Beware of the pitfalls in a corporate relationship: One of the major pitfalls is when the relationship doesn't end up working for the business and/or the arts organisations involved – in our experience this normally comes down to a lack of clarity in either party about what they really want to achieve in the partnership.

Clear objectives are vital, as is openness and trust. The best relationships also have a sense of 'authenticity' about them, where they make sense to those people around the arts organisation or business.

Jennifer Mays, associate director, sponsorship, events and affinity marketing, Coutts
It's not just about arts organisations approaching corporate sponsors: We need to be clear on how sponsorship helps us achieve our business objectives as well, and proactively look for opportunities.

An example is following the government announcements at the end of 2010 regarding drastic cuts to arts organisations – we, as a supporter of the arts, decided to look for ways in which we could help to raise awareness of these organisations due to our long standing support of the sector.

The result was the Coutts Arts Festival, a three evening festival where nine arts organisations performed to an audience in order to raise their profile and possibly win individual supporters.

Barty Mee, deputy head of commercial partnerships, Drum
Partnering with a cultural entity gives brands a point of interest in their respective marketplace: Essentially, this boils down to having something to talk about and, in some cases, a direct benefit to pass on to their customers. There are many varied examples of this but a good one to focus on is O2's sponsorship of the Academy Music Group venues.

By sponsoring the live music venues run by the group, O2 are able to give their customers access to tickets for gigs at each venue 48 hours before the tickets go on general release. This, combined with the more traditional benefits of the naming rights, enables O2 to attract customers in an otherwise commodified marketplace.


*Photo courtesy of Lucy Ku.

Increasing Impact, Enhancing Value

Posted by Emily Peck
Increasing Impact, Enhancing Value

Increasing Impact, Enhancing Value: A Practitioner’s Guide to Leading Corporate Philanthropy was just released by The Council on Foundations.


The goal of the report is to:

  1. Create a new narrative for corporate philanthropy as an investment in society.
  2. Develop an inclusive “operating system” for philanthropic investment.
  3. Professionalize the field.
  4. Improve collaboration, communication, and knowledge sharing.
  5. Mobilize “field level” leadership behind this agenda.

Download the executive summary and full report.


See examples of arts partnerships that advance business goals in our pARTnership Movement success stories and read 8 reasons why businesses should partner with the arts.

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.


What are some of the ways corporations can engage meaningfully in the arts?

Posted by Sabrina Dupre

Sabrina Dupre, Director of Global Communications at Estee Lauder writes on about two questions companies should ask in order to create a meaningful partnership between arts and business.


I was recently an audience member at a panel about "Paradigms of Corporate Responsibility and Art Partnerships" at Art Basel Miami Beach and was not at all surprised to find that none of the panelists could fully engage in the topic outside of referring to their own models of standard financial sponsorships.

I am by no means an expert, but I did find it hard to resist jumping in at certain moments when I thought that aspects of my own experience in the field might have provided a small amount of value, or at the least another perspective.

When it comes to corporate engagement in the arts--whether as part of a marketing program or a much larger corporate responsibility platform--I think it is most important to ask two questions before beginning any kind of art related partnership or sponsorship:

1. What is our purpose, as a brand or corporate entity, in supporting art? (i.e. Is it to "look cool" as a sponsor? Or to excite our consumers? Is it to boost our reputation with a certain audience? To decorate a product? To heal? To transform? To support individual artistic livelihoods?)

2. What does "art" mean to our brand/corporation? (i.e. Is it about design or decoration? Is it about provoking our customers? Is it about beauty? Is it a reflection of our brand's personality? Is it a means to inspire or educate? Is it something from long ago that hangs in a museum or is it the graffiti markings on an abandoned building?)

Once these answers are not only asked, but answered, it's then important to understand what's meaningful to my audience(s), what's meaningful to the audiences of the art organization or artist the brand/corporate is interested in partnering with, and then seeing where the overlap is. It is in the intersection--where meaning overlaps for both entities--that the power of the partnership lies. Moreover, it's in the intersection where both parties will achieve authenticity.

There are a few examples I tend to cite when it comes to authentic corporate arts engagement. And I'd venture a guess that the question "What's in it for us?" was not at the top of the list when they started their programs.

Check them out:

Puma's Puma.Creative Program:
(in fact, Puma started two social networking sites just for artists to connect with each other: and

Levi's Workshop Series:
(I love that Levi's created these public photography and printmaking studios--how fab, in this hyper-digitized world we're in, to get art back into the hands of people, and people to get back to using their hands to make art)

Prada Transformer Project:
(Prada continues to define "cool patronage")

BMW/Guggenheim Lab:
(less art and more designed focused, I think BMW has created something quite unique here with one of the most revered art institutions...better yet, they're getting audiences to provoke and to think)

Target's Arts+Culture Program:
(I know, it's almost trite at this point, but I do believe they try to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to making art accessible, so it would be somewhat amiss on my part to leave them off of this list)




And that's my two cents.

h/t You've Cott Mail


A Swiss pARTnership

Posted by Scott Provancher
A Swiss pARTnership

As I drove up to a series of nondescript warehouse buildings, I double checked the directions to make sure I was in the right place.


Inching slowly forward, I eventually spotted the sign I was looking for: Forbo Siegling, Inc. As I got out of my car, I wondered for a second if this donor relationship visit was a good use of my time.


We often say that relationships are the key to fundraising success. But more often than not, we catch ourselves spending most of our time only nurturing the relationships that we know will lead to significant donations. We forget that most people are not born as arts philanthropists and need to be inspired by an experience or a relationship that will turn them into arts lovers.


Well “corporations are people too,” to quote Mitt Romney.


Just like people, businesses need their own breakthrough moments that inspire them to become meaningful supporters of the arts. As stewards of our institutions and the arts community, we always need to be searching for partnerships with the business community that make these special experiences happen.


Forbo Siegling, Inc. is a modest donor to the Arts & Science Council and the reason for my visit that day was to meet with the North American CEO, Wayne Hoffman. After a tour of their facility, I learned that in addition to being one of the world’s largest manufacturers of conveyer belts (think U.S. Postal Service and airport baggage systems), they were owned by Forbo which is headquartered in Switzerland.


As I continued my meeting with Mr. Hoffman, I also learned that Forbo’s board of directors were planning to visit Charlotte in the coming months and were looking for a location to meet. Without hesitation, I said “You should have your board meeting at the Bechtler Museum.”


Charlotte recently completed the Levine Center for the Arts, home to Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mint Museum, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, and the Knight Theater. The connection for Forbo is that the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art was made possible with the gift of a $70 million art collection donated by Andreas Bechtler, son of Swiss art collectors Hans and Bessie Bechtler.


After additional conversations with Mr. Hoffman, Forbo hosted their board of directors at the Bechtler Museum and it was a huge success.


In Wayne’s words, “I couldn’t be happier. The weather supported us, the meeting venue was most appreciated, and the general outcome of the board meeting was positive for Forbo Siegling, LLC here. Further, the museum tour that was conducted was informative and interesting for all of them. Of course, they had various connections with both the artists and Andreas Bechtler so that became even more interesting as the day progressed.”


This rich cultural experience has left a lasting impression with Forbo’s leadership and forever strengthened the partnership with the arts community in Charlotte.

Though I wish that all of my corporate visits lead to unexpected partnerships between the arts and the business community, Forbo Siegling is a powerful reminder that breakthrough relationship moments are out there in least expected corners of our communities.


This blog was originally posted on ARTSblog.


*Photo of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art courtesy of the Arts & Science Council.

Partnering with the Arts On and Off the Slopes

Posted by Emily Peck

Aspen Skiing Company won Colorado Business Committee for the Arts' (CBCA's) 2012 Business for the Arts Impact Award which highlights innovative use of the arts to propel business strategies.  Aspen Skiing Company partnered with the Aspen Art Museum to bring together skiing and contemporary art.  The results? Skiers saw arts in unexpected places and the initiative helped Aspen's business stand out from the crowd.  Watch the video to learn more.


At the awards event, the Honorable Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper said, “Partnerships between arts and business help define Colorado. These types of collaborative efforts attract new businesses to our state and go hand in hand with the innovative spirit that makes Colorado a great place to live, work and play.”


Want to see more? Check out videos from the other CBCA award winners and finalists on why they partner with the arts in Colorado.

The Art of Innovation

Posted by Siobhan Kenney

Recently, women from some of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley left their cleanrooms, computers, and cubes to immerse themselves in the world of art … and discovered that inspiration and creativity are traits shared across sectors, industries, and disciples. The reps from Yahoo! Women in Tech had an amazing time as stated in a recent post.


Visiting the San Jose Museum of Art exhibit by Joan Brown, guests were challenged to examine how an artist – or any innovator – grapples with the complexities of a problem. They explored the results of bold experimentation and risk-taking leadership. The art prompted conversations on authenticity, cross-cultural communication, and opportunities that bring people of diverse backgrounds together in shared experiences – at work and in the community.


As a funder of the Museum’s current exhibit and other arts programs around the world, Applied and its Foundation are pleased to support arts programs that add to the vitality and vibrancy of a community and support the innovators who take risks through art – including Silicon Valley efforts like the maverick filmmakers now featured at Cinequest Film Festival, and City Lights Theatre as it restages Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a contemporary psychological thriller to resonate with student audiences, and the work of 1st Act at the intersection of arts, creativity and technology.


All are wonderful programs that are worth exploring. To learn more about Applied Materials’ investments in the arts and culture visit the Applied Materials Blog.


*This was originally posted by Siobhan Kenney on the Applied Materials Blog.  Applied Materials was a 2009 BCA 10 winner.

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