Corporate Giving is an Investment in the Community (from The pARTnership Movement)

Joanne Riley

The new pARTnership Movement has really resonated with the Cultural Alliance of York County (PA). Though we solicit individuals now, we started, and mostly still are, a corporate campaign for the arts.

Annually we raise $1.2 million dollars. More than 300 companies make that happen by contributing to a campaign for arts, history, and culture. That’s an incredible number considering we are a town of 44,000 and a county of about 400,000.

The founders of the Cultural Alliance were the heads of large corporations here. They supported the concept of a United Arts Fund and invested in it. We had success our first year (2000) and have continued to meet or exceed goal.

The message that we clearly stated, from the beginning, is that the arts are good for business. Though our message was not so clearly articulated as the pARTnership Movement has been, the fact is we use those eight reasons to establish the arts’ genuine ability to change our community.

One company is the immediate and current supporter for all cultural agencies in York, and truly believes the concept of helping the community by partnering with the arts. They use their partnership with us to help recruit and retain employees.

The company, Glatfelter Insurance Group, has 500 employees and is one of the largest privately held insurance brokers in the United States. They not only value the arts as a tool for human resources (very pragmatic), but also as a way to get their message across in engaging ways—sponsoring interesting art exhibits, both traditional and non-traditional shows, and symphony and pops concerts.

The company also knows that, for example, the fourth of July concert and fireworks draws 20,000 disparate people together to enjoy the sounds of the York Symphony who might never enjoy symphonic music.

Their partnership helps us raise money among other companies as the new investors see the excitement and involvement of Glatfelter Insurance Company’s employees and their desire to make York the best place to be, so they want to give!

Glatfelter Insurance Company inspires and rewards their employees with all the benefits arts have to offer. And their mission, beyond their business, is to help be a positive part of the community where many of their employees live, work, and raise families. With their prominent name as an arts supporter, they inspire others to join them.

We don’t have to cultivate York’s businesses, big and small, because that was the premise when we first started. Glatfelter Group’s founder and its executives believed in business support for the arts and its powerful impact on the community and their employees from the beginning.

Their support for the arts grounded our united arts fund campaign and was a persuasive tool in getting support from businesses. Without their support, this agency would not have been funded and certainly would not have reached its goals every year.

Knowing that Glatfelter Insurance Company understood, at the deepest level, the arts’ influence, helped lead others to follow. Even in times when corporate funding was reduced, the arts’ reduced share always equaled the reduction among other nonprofits in York.

We couldn’t continue this campaign without businesses investing in us…and The pARTnership Movement articulates why!

This post is one in a series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Visit our website to find out how both businesses and local arts agencies can get involved!

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