Blog Posts for April 2015 Blog Salon 2

What Metrics Matter? A Complicated Question in CSR and the Arts

Posted by Pam Korza, May 01, 2015 0 comments

Alex Parkinson, researcher for The Conference Board, urges in his blog post that arts and culture leaders need to become adept at demonstrating the social impact of the arts in terms that speak to corporate leaders. I agree! But, it’s not just about arts leaders building evaluation capacity. Social responsibility and impact starts with both cultural and corporate leaders defining clear intention and acknowledging that some shifts may be needed in defining the metrics that matter when assessing arts and corporate social responsibility investments.

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Antarctica, Art, and Innovation

Posted by Andrea Taylor, May 01, 2015 0 comments

In our 21st century digital world, the power of storytelling has become platinum currency that many corporations use to address intractable and large scale issues. Recent findings from the Animating Democracy program of Americans for the Arts suggest that arts organizations now have a chance to reinvent corporate partnerships and engage new audiences by fully engaging corporate marketing, communication, and evaluation resources.

Corporate layoffs, limited cash resources, and employees eager to volunteer are changing the models and metrics for support of the arts. This quest for greater social impact is leading to innovative, nontraditional arts programming everywhere. At the same time, the complex, cross-cutting challenges facing local and global communities are generating more interaction between disparate cultural, economic, and social groups.

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Posted by Jana La Sorte, May 01, 2015 0 comments

It is a beautiful and often overlooked truth that most corporations—like arts organizations —are the result of someone’s imagination and desire to serve people. An individual or a few people dedicate their efforts to inventing something that can make people’s lives easier or create opportunities.

A man concocts a syrup recipe that can alleviate headaches and stomach pains. This becomes Coca-Cola. The enterprising Wright brothers dream of a flying machine that can take people anywhere. Their innovation leads to the creation of the airline industry. An immigrant from Italy uses his own money to provide loans to Italians in San Francisco turned down by other banks. This becomes the Bank of America.

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Introducing the UK’s Arts Impact Fund

Posted by Helen Goulden, Caroline Mason, Apr 30, 2015 0 comments

The following two blogs by Helen Goulden and Caroline Mason were originally published on the Arts Impact Fund blog, and are great posts for this week's Blog Salon on Corporate Social Responsibility.

Advancing the Art of Finance Helen Goulden, Executive Director, Innovation Lab, Nesta

The Arts Impact Fund is a new £7million fund that brings together public, private, and charitable investment to support arts organizations in England and the first of its kind to focus on their social, artistic, and financial return. The fund was created and funded by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Nesta, supported by Arts Council England and with additional funding from Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It was convened with the help of the Cabinet Office, to demonstrate the significant social value created by arts organizations and support their work through loan finance.

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Sharing Transformative Histories is Everybody’s Responsibility!

Posted by Tia Harris, Apr 30, 2015 0 comments

What’s a Weeksville?

Established in 1838, Weeksville became the second largest known independent African American community in pre-Civil War America, the only such community whose residents were distinctive for their urban rather than rural occupations, and the only one that merged into a neighborhood of a major American city after the Civil War. Therefore, Weeksville Heritage Center (WHC) is a nationally significant American historic site and a documented example of an intentional, independent African American community.

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Creativity and Impact: Can the Arts and Corporate Philanthropy Coexist?

Posted by Alex Parkinson, Apr 30, 2015 3 comments

Some people are numbers focused, others are creatives. In business, it is often the metrics and the people behind them that pull the strings and the corporate philanthropy field is following the same path. Social impact is increasingly measured by data and used by corporate funders as the basis for grant-making decisions. This trend has not necessarily been kind to the arts sector, as corporate giving budgets have reshuffled to target organizations and initiatives that can quantify their impact.

Giving in Numbers: 2014 Edition found that total giving to Culture and Arts fell by 20 percent between 2010 and 2013, a result that suggests organizations operating in the field have struggled to successfully capture the metrics and information necessary to demonstrate impact in a way companies can understand. Americans for the Arts is responding to the decline, however, with a shrewd assessment of the place arts has in the corporate philanthropy world—it’s not just about impact that can be supported by data, but about using creativity to broaden conversations and generate support.

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