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.”
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Corporate support waxes for Luna Negra was originally posted on www.chicagobusiness.com on June 4, 2012.
Author: Meribah Knight
*Photo courtesy of Toby Otter.