Up to the minute news on arts and business partnerships.


Corporate Giving is Down According to Giving USA

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

The 2014 Giving USA: Annual Report on Philanthropy, published by the Giving USA Foundation, has just been released. Giving USA is the longest-running, most comprehensive report on business philanthropy in America. The complete Giving USA 2014 report, with estimates covering 2013 giving, is available at


The following infographic from the Benefactor Group, summarizes the 2014 Giving USA report. One of the interesting findings in this report is about corporate giving to all charities (not just the arts): 

  • Corporate giving decreased 1.9 percent in 2013. 
  • Even though the market did very well in 2013, corporate profits slowed substantially compared with 2012. 
  • Corporate profits are directly linked to corporate giving.


Click the infographic below to view the full resolution version at For valuable information on the motivations behind business support specific to the arts, download the BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts.



Announcing the 2014 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the honoree companies selected by the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), a division of Americans for the Arts, as The BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America for 2014.


Every year, Americans for the Arts, through the Business Committee for the Arts, recognizes ten U.S. companies for their exceptional commitment to the arts through grants, local partnerships, volunteer programs, matching gifts, sponsorships and board membership.


In addition, Frederic C. Hamilton, chairman of The Hamilton Companies (Denver, CO) and chairman emeritus of the Denver Art Museum will receive the 2014 BCA Leadership Award and Deere & Company (Moline, IL) will be inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame. The BCA 10 Awards, BCA Leadership Award and BCA Hall of Fame will be presented by Americans for the Arts on October 1, 2014, at a black-tie gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City.


The 2014 BCA 10 honorees are:


AC Entertainment (Knoxville, TN)
BBVA Compass (Birmingham, AL)
Brookfield (New York, NY)
Brooks Resources Corporation (Bend, OR)
Classical Movements, Inc. (Alexandria, VA)
Edward Jones (St. Louis, MO)
Hallmark Cards (Kansas City, MO)
Milliken & Company (Spartanburg, SC)
PECO (Philadelphia, PA)
Thrivent Financial (Appleton, WI)


Frederic C. Hamilton, Chairman, The Hamilton Companies (Denver, CO)


John Deere
(Moline, IL)


“I am once again pleased to celebrate such an impressive array of BCA 10 honorees that span business size, industry and geographic locations,” says Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Each year, the BCA 10 sets the standard for other businesses by upholding the arts as an integral part of office culture, the community, and the local economy. Through financial and in-kind support, employee volunteer hours, and workplace arts initiatives, these businesses ensure arts access for current and future generations, in addition to serving as successful and inspiring models of business arts support.”


Edgar Smith, chairman of the Business Committee for the Arts Executive Board and chairman and CEO of World Pac Paper shares a similar sentiment: “As a business leader, I continue to be inspired by the outstanding support of the arts that the BCA 10 showcases each year. The exceptional partnerships this year’s honoree companies have forged both locally and nationally, truly highlight the benefits of arts to business, as well as the benefits that arts and business partnerships bring to the communities in which they operate, spend time, visit, live, work and play.”


For information regarding the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America including sponsorship and advertisement opporunities, please contact Patrick O’Herron, Business Committee for the Arts Coordinator at (212) 223-2787 or via e-mail at


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

Lincoln Financial Group Leads 2014 United Arts Campaign in Hartford

Posted by Tim Yergeau

The Greater Hartford Arts Council is proud to announce that Lincoln Financial Group will chair the 2014 United Arts Campaign, reflecting the company’s unwavering dedication to the arts and cultural community in Central Connecticut. Lincoln Financial has been a steadfast supporter of United Arts through generous foundation support, employee engagement and a strong example of local corporate citizenship.


Laura Dambier, site leader for Lincoln’s Hartford operations and Senior Vice President of Partner Solutions for Life, Claims & Distribution, will chair a Campaign Cabinet of community and business leaders to ensure the success of the 2014 campaign.


"Lincoln has a proud history of giving generously of our time and our resources to the communities in which we live and work,” said Dambier. “The arts enrich our lives in so many different ways, which is why it’s our honor and privilege to chair the 2014 Greater Hartford Arts Council Campaign. We are extremely excited to lead this year’s campaign and partner with other organizations so the arts can continue to thrive locally."


Running from February to June, the Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign is a community-wide fundraising effort that joins together corporate contributions, government and foundation funding and individual donations to support more than 150 local arts and heritage organizations across Greater Hartford.


United Arts is critical to the health and vitality of the region’s cultural assets. Each year the Arts Council invests more than $1.7 million in operating and project-specific grants, provides a range of programs and critical services to local arts organizations and artists, and promotes the power of art through community outreach, public art, advocacy and arts education.


“Lincoln Financial Group is a tremendous supporter of the arts,” said Cathy Malloy, Chief Executive Officer of the Arts Council. “We are extremely grateful for the company’s leadership—and the incredible commitment of Lincoln Financial employees—as we work to uphold a strong, vibrant cultural community today and into the future.


The United Arts Campaign Chair acts as an important link between business and the arts, encouraging corporate leaders to invest in the local cultural community. The 2013 United Arts Campaign, chaired by United Technologies, raised $2.6 million.


Lincoln Financial Group holds an exemplary record of supporting the arts in Connecticut’s Capital City. Each year, Lincoln’s Hartford office hosts a United Arts workplace giving campaign to encourage employees to share their individual artistic talents and exercise their creativity; last year’s employee effort raised more than $20,000. The Lincoln Financial Sculpture Walk—a series of sculptures and installations along the Connecticut River that celebrate the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln—was dedicated in 2008 and remains a key component of the city’s public art collection. Lincoln employees also proudly serve on the boards of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Wadsworth Atheneum, TheaterWorks and Riverfront Recapture, in addition to numerous other non-profit boards.


Arts and cultural funding is one of the significant priorities of the Lincoln Financial Foundation. As a portion of more than $800,000 in charitable funds awarded locally by Lincoln Financial Foundation in 2013, $182,000 in grants were provided to cultural programs at Artists Collective, the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Hartford Stage, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Riverfront Recapture and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. The Lincoln Financial Foundation has been a longtime supporter of Neighborhood Studios, the Arts Council’s nationally acclaimed summer apprenticeship program, which provides area teens with world-class arts instruction and career skills training suited to today’s workforce.


For more information on the United Arts Campaign, visit


Nominate your favorite company for the 2014 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America!

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
Nominate your favorite company for the 2014 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America!

Know of a business with outstanding arts partnerships? Work for one? Nominate now for the 2014 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America!


(Photo credit: The Aetna Employee Volunteer Jazz Band performs at the 2013 BCA 10.)


The BCA 10 recognizes businesses of all sizes for their exceptional involvement with the arts that enrich the workplace, education, and the community. Past winners include Aspen Skiing Company, which partnered with international artists to bring their works to the snowcapped mountains of its ski resort; Atlantic Salt, Inc., which hosts free public art festivals on its seaside dock in Staten Island; Scholastic, Inc., which has been sponsoring the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for youth for over 90 years; and Microsoft, the infamous technology giant, which is helping to increase access to arts education through company-wide education initiatives. For more outstanding examples and to nominate, visit


Nominations for The BCA 10 are open until Friday, February 14, 2014.


Winning businesses will be honored at the BCA 10 Gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City on October 1, 2014.


(Photo credit: Salt sculpted by salt dock workers into gallery spaces for the 2012 LUMEN Festival, Atlantic Salt, Inc.)


For more information, visit or contact Patrick O’Herron at


Fostering a Culture of Giving in Hong Kong

Posted by Mara Walker

I recently returned from Hong Kong where I participated in the International Arts Leadership Roundtable organized by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. As with many countries around the world, the arts and culture organizations in Hong Kong are often funded 70, 80, or 90% by the government. They need to diversify their funding pool and are looking to the United States as a model. I was the only American among other arts representatives from Australia, Canada, England, Singapore, Japan, Korea, and many others from Hong Kong itself – all envious of our perceived high degree of private sector resources going to the arts, our ongoing ROI on public sector support, and the existence of Americans for the Arts to advance all of the arts for all the people in this country.


While there is money on the ground in Hong Kong, evidenced by the beautiful Hong Kong skyline and downtown light show I witnessed nightly, there isn’t a culture of giving. Leaders from the arts, academia, business, media, and government were brought together to discuss how to create change and foster giving to the arts and it was great to be a part of the conversation.  Americans for the Arts staff are often asked to travel around the world to talk about the U.S. funding model for the arts in order to provide a roadmap for such change. There is a sense that we’ve figured it out. It’s true that we have a long tradition of giving in this country, but private sector support could – and should – be larger. It currently accounts for roughly 30% of an arts organization’s budget, with individual giving accounting for a majority and corporate and foundation support behind. 


On a positive note, we are seeing increases in businesses giving to the arts (2012 saw a return to 2006 levels of support) but only 4.6% of total corporate giving goes to the arts, as those dollars are always competing with social and health causes for attention. Businesses focus their arts giving on impacting the communities in which their employees live and work, and we are working to build the awareness about how partnering with the arts can help them reach their business goals. I spoke about our pARTnership Movement campaign when I was in Hong Kong and how we are demonstrating that connection by changing the dialogue to less be about an ask for money and more about building strong and lasting arts and business relationships that are mutually beneficial – financial support often follows.


That isn’t to say that “the ask” isn’t important. “The ask,” whether for funding or partnering, is everything. Positioning the arts as a solution provider that builds employee creativity and retention and strengthens the community is key. We have seen the power of collaboration time and time again, which is why we feature success stories on our website, recognize where partnerships have been effective through our BCA 10 awards and communication vehicles, and share ideas for creative partnerships at conferences and gatherings.


Our meeting space in Hong Kong was in the new Asia Society complex which beautifully stands as a testament to partnerships, constructed with funding from both government and private sources. The venue now has not only a meeting space but also features a theatre and gallery, where they were showing the daring “No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia” exhibit, jointly presented by the Asia Society Hong Kong Center and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation New York as part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative.


I also spoke to fellow arts representatives about the other two types of private sector funding in the U.S.: individual giving and foundation giving. The majority of private investment in the arts comes from individual giving, but it can be fair-weathered and is increasingly coupled with a desire from donors to be actively involved in decision making. Patron funding here is at risk from challenges to charitable giving tax donations and is sensitive to the economy and consumer confidence, but a strong relationship with donors can make for long-term funding commitments. Foundations, the third private sector source, are seeking new ways to measure the impact of their arts giving – a real challenge in that true impact can often take longer to measure than any single grant cycle.


Hong Kong has plans for a new cultural district in West Kowloon which is being designed to be a major hub for performing and visual arts activities, and is positioned to bring all of these sources of private sector funding together. It is initially being funded by the Hong Kong government with the hopes of future public/private partnerships that will lead to the engagement and enjoyment of all of the people. I shared that the U.S. has repeatedly seen the positive impact of cultural districts and what happens when the public and private sectors work together to invest in stronger communities.  West Kowloon is surely going to see that come to life when it opens starting in 2017 with the Xiqu Centre, a world-class performance facility for a very traditional art form.


I am proud of our private sector giving to the arts in the U.S. and our culture of giving.  I, and the other Americans for the Arts staff, are always eager to travel abroad to share our statistics and stories.  International arts leaders have a lot to learn from each other in our efforts to make sure the arts are understood as a community, economic, workplace, and social driver. Many places, like Hong Kong, are at a crossroads between valuing the traditional, like their famed Cantonese Opera, and celebrating the new, like the upcoming West Kowloon Cultural District. We are honored to help build bridges between the traditional and the new, the public and the private, and the national and the international, wherever possible.


*This article was posted on ARTSblog.


2013 Civic 50 Announced, Recognizing America’s 50 Most Community-Minded Corporations

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
2013 Civic 50 Announced, Recognizing America’s 50 Most Community-Minded Corporations

(Photo credit:


The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), Points of Light and Bloomberg have announced the Civic 50 survey results for 2013, which recognize America’s most community-minded corporations. According to the survey data, more businesses are giving employees the opportunity to work with community organizations and finding that it simultaneously increases their bottom line and employee satisfaction.


Many past honorees of the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America made the list (which each received the award for their exceptional involvement with the arts that enrich the workplace, education, and the community), including:


  • 3M
  • Adobe Systems Incorporated
  • Aetna
  • Altria Group*
  • AT&T*
  • Bank of America*
  • Devon Energy
  • Microsoft Corporation


The Civic 50 applicants were evaluated and accrued points based on several criteria, including the amount of financial and human resources applied to civic improvement; whether internal and external resources are used to maximize community impact; how a company’s community engagement activities align with its business interests; how broadly community engagement is supported and institutionalized within a company’s policies, systems and incentives; and how a company measures the social and business value of its community engagement programs.


“We are encouraged by the results of The Civic 50 survey, which show that increasingly community engagement is recognized as being core to business success,” said Neil Bush, chair of the Points of Light Board of Directors, and Michael Weiser, board chair, National Conference on Citizenship, in a joint statement. “We hope the best practices of The Civic 50 will serve as a valuable resource for other companies that want to transform their business, make a greater commitment to their communities, and change lives.”


For more information and the full list of the Civic 50, visit Congratulations to all 2013 honorees!


*denotes BCA Hall of Fame recipient.


Sprint supports New York City with $50,000 in grants to arts nonprofits

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

Sprint recently announced the 2013 recipients of its New York City Local Giving Program. In total, three area non-profit organizations were awarded grants as part of this signature community-support program. The New York City Local Giving Program awarded Sprint grants totaling $50,000 to area non-profits that support the Sprint Project Connect focus area of Internet safety and other technology-related programs and resources to help youth succeed in a digital world. Grants were presented and recipient organizations were honored at a local reception yesterday.


The 2013 grant recipients are:


  • The Long Island Children's Museum was awarded a $25,000 Sprint Project Connect grant to support the Westbury STEM Partnership. This partnership provides a critical introduction to science, technology, engineering and math concepts for early grade levels in the Westbury School District. The school-museum teaching model includes professional development and resource materials for teachers, student field trips to the museum throughout the year, and community nights where parents and families gain free access to the museum to view student projects and experience their child's classroom "extension."
  • The Bronx Arts Ensemble was awarded a $15,000 Sprint Project Connect grant to support its Technology in the Arts-In-Education Classroom program. Through this program, visual-art teaching artists incorporate smart boards, laptops and projectors during in-class presentations about noted art and performers. Students use laptops to compose music and create stop-gap animation videos. Teachers are given training on incorporating technology into their curriculum while using dance, drama, music and visual arts.
  • Futures and Options, Inc. was awarded a $10,000 Sprint Project Connect grant to support the College Guidance and Success Program. As part of this program, approximately 500 students will attend workshops and take part in college guidance, career development and enhanced-learning activities. The students will be guided through their online college search, application and selection process, and receive individualized advice on their academic progress and future goals. They will also be paired with paid mentorship opportunities and have access to work-readiness training programs related to their areas of career interest.

These grants are made through the Sprint Project Connect program. Funding for this program is provided through a charitable phone-recycling program through which customers and non-customers can donate their no-longer-used wireless devices with net proceeds benefiting youth technology programs.

Sprint is a long-time supporter of the New York City community, and this is the fifth year Sprint has conducted the New York City Local Giving Program and has provided more than $250,000 in support to New York City-area non-profits.

To learn more about the Sprint Local Giving Program and Sprint Good Works, please visit

*This article was originally posted at


As Corporate Giving Bounces Back, Six Things Nonprofits Need to Know

Posted by Judy Belk

After years of recession-battered budgets, nonprofits finally are getting good news: U.S. charitable donations appear to be rebounding. Corporate giving, in particular, increased a cumulative 14.7% since 2010, according to the Giving USA Foundation. The median of total giving by companies jumped 23% last year and is almost back to pre-recession levels.


Many, but not all, nonprofits are getting some lift from that rising tide. A survey by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative found that 42% of nonprofits said they received more corporate funding in 2012 than in 2011.


Converging trends, however, are shaping how such funds will be allocated in the future. Most notable is pressure from customers and employees for companies to become better corporate citizens. At the same time, business-oriented thinking is coming to bear on philanthropy, including “impact investment” approaches, leveraging non-cash assets, more strategic planning and a desire to align charity and corporate missions.


These changes are spawning new expectations for nonprofits – but also revealing new resources for them to tap. Here are six trends to understand to successfully engage corporate donors.


1. It’s not charity; it’s corporate strategy. Corporate philanthropy has had a reputation – sometimes deserved – of being diffuse and reactionary. Today companies are applying the same kind of strategic focus to philanthropic decisions that they do to the rest of the business. A mission statement and declaration of values, usually tied to a broader corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework, keep corporate giving on track. Executives in corporate philanthropy are becoming more proactive about advancing specific goals. Nonprofit groups that grasp and take advantage of this framework will have a head start on finding corporate partners for their work.


2. The ROI mindset. Multiple movements have grown up around the idea that businesses can do good while doing well, such as social entrepreneurship, impact investing and the B Corps. These, too, are influencing corporate philanthropy. The concepts of “gifts” or “grants” is being supplanted by the idea of “social investments,” and by extension, companies are beginning to apply a return on investment (ROI) mentality to their philanthropic decisions.


In response, nonprofits are striving to develop new metrics that spell out the “return.” It is a significant departure for some organizations to go from measuring need to measuring outputs, outcomes, and impact. But it’s an important step to take. Such reporting reassures corporate donors that their nonprofit partner knows what success looks like and how to build on it. It also helps them understand – and communicate to internal and external stakeholders- how their donations are making a difference in the world.


3. A respectful partnership. Let’s be honest: Nonprofit and corporate values do not always align. Even within philanthropy circles, corporate giving programs have often gotten a bum rap as little more than dressed-up marketing dollars.


But such philanthropic snobbery is outdated and undermines an opportunity to engage a critical sector. Today’s corporations have a genuine stake in social issues, whether it is ensuring a sustainable market for products, healthier customers, or a better community for their employees. Corporate foundations have been particularly instrumental to educational reform efforts, prompted by authentic concerns about their future workforce.


Given the complexity of today’s social problems, everyone – nonprofits, private philanthropists, the public sector and business leaders – needs to be contributing solutions. Nonprofits would be wise to actively draw more companies into these conversations.


4. The total toolbox. The most sophisticated giving programs leverage all the assets a corporation can bring to bear – not just their financial resources. We at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) enjoy working with corporate funders because they have so many tools to use: their brand and customer loyalty, their products and distribution channels, the skills and talents of employees, and the clout of senior management to raise the visibility of an issue. As corporate philanthropy programs investigate the needs of nonprofits – and nonprofits get more creative about what they ask for – even more ways to join forces will be discovered.


5. The employee effect. When employees arrive at the office, they don’t stop caring about their community or the world. Smartly run companies look for ways to transform that philanthropic urge into workplace engagement. Matching gift programs are the just the starting point (though the best of them match as much as $15,000 a year per person). Some leading companies use employee committees to help steer grant money. Volunteerism programs encourage donating time to community groups. Some companies even loan out expert professionals to help build some skill or capacity at a nonprofit. But here is an open secret: Such programs are often wildly underused. With care and tending, and a little bit of research on what a company offers, employees can be a direct route to the philanthropic heart of the company.


6. The global puzzle. How does a company give back to “its community” when it has operations in nine countries and sells in another 22?


In 2011, only 14% of donations targeted international programs, according to a sample of Fortune 500 companies’ giving analyzed by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. CECP also asked attendees at its annual conference whether their giving reflected their company’s global footprint. Only 27% offered an unqualified “yes.” The plurality, 36%, said “We’re not there yet but moving in that direction.”


In short, corporate giving departments do not need to be convinced to make international issues a priority. They do need nonprofit partners that can help them navigate this tricky terrain.


All of these six trends are driving innovation at both corporations and nonprofits. The office of corporate giving is no longer the sleepy, final career stop of the soon-to-retire executive but, rather, a complex and sophisticated undertaking with dynamic leaders to match. Nonprofits are similarly raising their game.


The donor-grantee relationship has changed for the better, too. It is now a more strategic and equitable partnership. In this era of CSR, after all, nonprofit leaders present tremendous value to the company: expertise in how to make a meaningful impact on society.


(This article, originally posted on the Philanthropy Journal, 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.)


Black Friday, Cyber Monday... Today is GIVING TUESDAY!

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
Black Friday, Cyber Monday... Today is GIVING TUESDAY!

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day to celebrate the progress and impact of giving to the arts and other nonprofits.The pARTnership Movement encourages our network of business leaders and companies to participate in Giving Tuesday by sharing our messaging campaign, including the 8 reasons businesses partner with the arts, with colleagues and friends.


Read more about Giving Tuesday, including how corporate foundation arms such as eBay Deals and Johnson & Johnson are all taking part in the following live blog at


Giving Tuesday Is Selfless Response To Black Friday, Cyber Monday (LIVEBLOG)


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