Investing in the Artists and Fans of Tomorrow: StubHub’s Story

Posted by Emma Leggat, Oct 20, 2014 0 comments

Emma Leggat Emma Leggat

I have the pleasure of serving as StubHub’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and in September 2012, had a life-changing opportunity to visit New Orleans with a special mission.

New Orleans was to host Super Bowl XLVIII, meaning it would also be the site of StubHub’s annual Super Bowl Pregame Bash, which attracts some 7,000 attendees each year. The city of New Orleans has given so much to sports and music fans alike, and as the world’s largest ticket marketplace, these very fans are the core of our business. Naturally, we wanted to give back.

While considering ways to narrow StubHub’s CSR focus to increase our positive impact, we uncovered findings any Americans for the Arts member knows all too well: while more research than ever before demonstrates how vital the arts are to youth development and future achievement, budget cuts continue to threaten arts education in schools across the country, particularly those in underserved communities. These findings further spurred our drive to give back.

Roots of Music Roots of Music

While in New Orleans, I was introduced to an incredible organization called The Roots of Music, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the youth of New Orleans through music education. I met many young musicians, but one young boy in particular stood out: Lawrence “Tudda” Honore Jr., a six-year-old snare drum player who had been mentored by Roots of Music cofounder Derrick Tabb. Take a look at this short film and I guarantee you, too, will fall in love with Tudda and The Roots of Music.

The Roots of Music story is a poignant example of the myriad benefits the arts can have on children: from fostering individual and community pride, to providing a healthy channel for creativity, to cultivating work ethic, to providing an alternative to the streets for our nation’s most vulnerable youth. In short, there was something truly special about this organization. Something struck a chord with all of us at StubHub.

StubHub & Roots of Music StubHub & Roots of Music

And so we took an unconventional measure and became (as far as I know) the first ever multi-national corporation to become the official sponsor for a non-profit youth marching band program.When we shared a film about the organization across all our platforms, we also donated $1 for every view, to drive sharing and help the organization reach new audiences.

To this day, The Roots of Music is emblematic of what our corporate giving program Rising Stars stands for: supporting music education at the grassroots level and donating more than dollars, but also exposure and other intangibles. In little more than two years, through Rising Stars and other CSR initiatives, StubHub has allocated more than a third of its $2.7 million in charitable giving to some 20 arts organizations.

This year, we expanded our Rising Stars program by launching our first ever self-produced concert series, Next Stage, for which 100% of proceeds benefit The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (MHOF) and other music non-profits. In partnership with MHOF and the StubHub Foundation (a corporate advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation), this program has enabled more than 600 musical instruments valued at nearly $600,000 to be placed in 15 public schools throughout the country.

Committing to help further music education has been rewarding and educational for us as a company, too:

  • We’ve connected more deeply with our customers by introducing them to organizations like The Roots of Music. (When price and quality are equal, 93% of consumers today say they will be more loyal to a brand that supports a cause.)
  • Through our Next Stage concert series, we’ve had the opportunity to partner with outstanding artists such as Lykke Li, Grouplove, Portugal. The Man, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” & Orleans Avenue, who share our commitment to music education.
  • We’ve gotten creative about advancing employee engagement through volunteerism around an issue that ties back to our business. It’s commonly known that today’s talent wants to work for companies that give back.
  • After using tools like the Arts Education Navigator, StubHub produced an easy to read and widely distributed infographic sharing our findings.
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 12:  StubHub and Mr. Holland's Opus surprise Bay Area students with new instruments at KIPP Bridge Charter School on August 12, 2014 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for StubHub) OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 12: StubHub and Mr. Holland's Opus surprise Bay Area students with new instruments at KIPP Bridge Charter School on August 12, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for StubHub)

What we’ve also learned is that the corporate sector has so much to offer the arts community beyond simply writing checks. At StubHub, we continually challenge ourselves to be creative on this front. For example:

  • Lending exposure on StubHub.com or through our social and marketing channels to raise visibility for an issue or non-profit;
  • Hosting a community convening to discuss ways to support arts education locally;
  • Educating employees, community leaders and fellow companies in our region about ways they can be arts advocates in their communities;
  • Lending our technology, marketing or other expertise; and
  • Donating experiences such as access to our corporate suites for a non-profit to auction.

For StubHub, supporting the arts is a natural choice: we feel we have a positive role to play in investing in the fans and artists of the future and that’s just good business. But we’re just getting started. We’ll continue to partner with emerging artists to help connect them with new audiences while supporting arts organizations they hold dear. And in the future, we’ll create ways for the millions of live entertainment fans who visit StubHub every day to join us in support.

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Are you a company with your own story about how and why you support the arts or a non-profit with ideas about what the corporate sector can do to better contribute? Email Emma at community@stubhub.com.StubHub is the world’s largest ticket marketplace, enabling fans the choice to buy and sell tickets to tens of thousands of sports, concert, theater and other live entertainment events. StubHub is an eBay company (NASDAQ: EBAY). For more information on StubHub’s CSR programs, visit www.stubhub.com/community

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