President’s Letter – April 25, 2017

President’s Letter – April 25, 2017

Dear Esteemed Rotarians,
I was disappointed to miss last week as I was traveling to Germany and Israel for a few days of teaching and meetings.  Frank Williams sent me an excellent summary of this fascinating speaker:
Jill Seltzer, the Managing Director of the Ensemble Theatre Company, gave a provocative presentation about civic arts groups that made an impact in different locations by using creative non-traditional strategies. The first example was the “Philanthropic Phollies” in Chicago.  Jill was working with two separate foundations who gave money to charities, and realized that the “asking” process for the charities was difficult.  In order to “level the playing field” the foundations put on five musical shows over ten years, with the charities as guests.  The foundation staffs wrote and performed (all amateurs but one).   Examples of the show titles were Annie Get Your Fund, My Fair Funder, and Alice in Funderland.  That awkward conversation between staff of non-profits asking for money and foundation staff who are “evaluating” them got easier and friendlier because of having shared an evening in the theater where the “evaluating” roles were reversed. The other example was the Trey McIntyre Project, a dance company formed just as the 2008 depression started.  Trey decided to base the company in Boise, Idaho, a city of 200,000, some 550 miles from any major urban center with no dance company or funding community to support the arts.  So they tried the unconventional – using the arts as a way to build civic engagement.  They had “Spurbans” (spontaneous urban events); performing between innings at Little League games; performing at half time at college basketball games, and the like.  Their first performance was at an outdoor movie theatre, where the audience was encouraged to tailgate.  Each of the dancers spoke about what they loved about Boise.  They hosted a community art auction, where local artists created work that reflected local or dance themes, and where the company and the artist split the gate—a huge event binding the arts community together.  A local bar’s mixologist created a different signature drink for each member of the company, bearing her or his name—a strategy that gave people a personal connection to the often all-too-anonymous ranks of dancers.  The community event was to “drink your way through the company” which supports the company through an arrangement giving them half the proceeds of every named drink sold.
This week we are excited to have Melissa Honig talking about Revolutionizing Long Term Care. Don’t miss her presentation!
We will have our board meeting this Friday at 145-245pm.  Please submit any agenda items to me at least 24 hours prior to meeting.
Looking forward to seeing all this Friday.  Consider bringing a friend.
Jim Stretchberry
Rotary Club of Santa Barbara
 

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