News

Arts and business news from around the country.

RSS

Partnering with Eileen Fisher

Posted by Katy Rubin
0 Comments

Today I’m writing from my desk in Brooklyn, as the founder and artistic director of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC). TONYC, 2+ years old and growing, partners with local communities including homeless adults, immigrants and LGBTQ homeless youth to create and tour original plays inspired by real‐life struggles. Our interactive performances engage audiences in creative problem‐solving and transformative action.

 

Back in the summer of 2010, I was working as a freelance teaching artist. One of my employers, a girls leadership initiative, was funded in part by Eileen Fisher, the women’s clothing company. All I knew then about EF was that zen-looking women wore flowy clothes in the NY Times ads that my mother and I had always admired. Then I got a call asking if I’d come up to Westchester, where EF’s headquarters are located. The EF Community Foundation had heard that the Theatre of the Oppressed course was very popular down in the city, and invited me to teach in their pilot Leadership Institute, modeled after the same program they funded in NYC. I immediately noticed a special vibe; the first day I walked into the EF headquarters, the janitor whispered to me: “I love working here: shhh, don’t tell anyone.”

 

I was excited about the work Eileen was doing around girls’ and women’s leadership (being an emerging leader myself, as well as a young woman). The company was similarly excited by the Theatre of the Oppressed methodology I brought, and how it connected the young women to each other and to their communities, through identifying and transforming collective challenges. At the performance I facilitated that summer, Eileen spoke about the importance of investing in the confidence and creativity of young women, sparked by the challenges she faced when starting the company 30 years before. I didn’t know yet that I’d soon be running a growing arts-and-social-justice nonprofit, and that I would sometimes struggle to find my own confidence as a young, female leader.

 

A few months later I was directing NYC’s first homeless forum theatre troupe in its inaugural performance, “It Could Happen to You,” in a shelter on the Upper East Side, and I invited the EF staff. That fall, I wrote a proposal and received a grant from EF’s Community Partnership program for my little fiscally-sponsored project. At that point, an ongoing relationship began in which I continued to facilitate and advise for their summer Leadership Institute, and the Foundation became a steady supporter of TONYC, which was born that same winter. The early support from EF tells part of the story of how our organization came to exist.

 

The partnership continued to grow in late 2011, when Antoinette Klatzky, the Foundation’s program director, joined the Board. There have been some surprises: a high-schooler from the summer program, Aliyah Hakim, fell in love with our work and interned with TONYC in 2012. Aliyah’s excitement inspired the Foundation to pilot a “Gap Year Fellowship” for young women to work on a social justice project and earn a substantial stipend; we were the first organization to receive a fellow, and Aliyah’s work was integral in our spring 2013 LGBTQ Homeless Youth Forum Theatre Festival. Other young women from the Leadership Institute, as well as staff, have become regular audience members and volunteers at our events.

 

In Theatre of the Oppressed NYC’s mission, arts and social justice carry equal weight. It’s incredibly important that any business we’re partnering with demonstrates a strong sense of ethics and social consciousness in all of its practices. I believe that both organizations have learned from each other over the past two years, and I have appreciated the opportunity to witness, from the inside, responsible business practices and effective women leaders.

 

Next week, on Tues, Oct 22nd, we’ll hold our 2nd annual ACTIVATE benefit event (tickets still available!), raising funds for our 2014 programs while growing our community and celebrating our actors and partners. We’re very happy that the Eileen Fisher Community Foundation is making a gift in honor of the event and challenging our supporters to match it, and that many of their staff and community will be there to celebrate with us.

 

(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.)

Related
Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

More News

Private Sector Takes a Stand
Nov 15, 2018 0 Comments
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99;...
Go to full post
2018 BCA 10 Honorees in Forbes Magazine
Nov 02, 2018 0 Comments
This year's BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honorees were in the September 30 issues of Forbes Magazine.   Read more about this year's honorees: Churchill Downs Fifth Third Bank Fosun International...
Go to full post
What's so important about creativity?
Oct 30, 2018 0 Comments
We might work in the arts field, but our day-to-day work looks like any other business. We stare at Excel charts, spend hours on conference calls, write reports, and try to find the bottom of our never-ending email inboxes. Like...
Go to full post
Business Contributions to the Arts Survey 2018
Oct 10, 2018 0 Comments
Business Contributions to the Arts: 2018 Edition is the second edition published by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts of the annual study. Conducted in the summer of 2018, the survey garnered 132 responses from...
Go to full post
David Rockefeller pARTnership Award: Square + Cheyenne River Youth Project
Oct 01, 2018 0 Comments
Square and Cheyenne River Youth Project will receive the David Rockefeller pARTnership Award at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA 10.   "Our hope with the project, “Lakota...
Go to full post
BCA Leadership Award: Chandrika Tandon
Sep 27, 2018 0 Comments
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99;...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: UMB Financial Corporation (Kansas City, MO)
Sep 24, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor UMB at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “It is an honor to be recognized among this group of distinguished and innovative...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: West Bend Mutual Insurance Company (West Bend, WI)
Sep 20, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor West Bend Mutual Insurance at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “The arts can have a profound impact on people of all...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati, OH)
Sep 17, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor Fifth Third Bank at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA 10.   “Fifth Third Bank is committed to building thriving and vibrant...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Phillips 66 (Houston, TX)
Sep 13, 2018 0 Comments
“As a company committed to improving lives, Phillips 66 is proud to support the arts. Our communities are enriched by the arts, precisely because art touches and changes lives in ways that are positive and profound. It’s one...
Go to full post
Quaver Music Supports Arts Education
Sep 11, 2018 0 Comments
September 9-15 is National Arts in Education Week!   Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: The Standard (Portland, OR)
Sep 10, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor The Standard at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “Fostering an appreciation for the arts helps build a foundation for...
Go to full post
BCA Spotlight: VF Corporation (Greesnboro, NC)
Sep 06, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor VF Corporation at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “VF has a proud history of supporting the arts in the communities...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Fosun International Shanghai CN (New York Office)
Sep 03, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor Fosun at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “Fosun has been a champion of the arts for many years, both domestically in...
Go to full post

Already a partner?

Already a partner?

Learn easy ways to take your partnership to a new level.

Use our ads locally

Use our ads locally

View The pARTnership Movement ad campaign and find ways to use the ads.

pARTnership videos

pARTnership videos

Watch and share our videos from The pARTnership Movement.

Partnership ideas

Partnership ideas

Inspire employees with tickets to the ballet or a concert.

Are you an arts group?

Are you an arts group?

Get listed in our searchable directory.

Recruit talent

Recruit talent

Employees want to live and work in a vibrant community.