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Press Release
Private Sector Shows a Steadfast Commitment to the Arts Built on Long-Term Partnerships,
10 October, 2018

Manufacturing companies lead total contributions
with an average of $4.6 million to arts organizations

Nearly a quarter of companies expect to increase their funding for the arts in the next 12 months and only 7 percent expect a decrease, according to new research from The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts. These increases will likely be driven by increased overall philanthropy budgets. The study also found that nearly all companies are engaged with the arts community, complementing the support for the sector delivered through the National Endowment of the Arts.

According to Business Contributions to the Arts: 2018 Edition, the broad private-sector support for the arts is driven by long-term partnerships. Most financial services companies—all of those surveyed said they contribute to the arts—selected a long-term relationship with an arts organization as the reason that best explains their decision to support the arts. Many companies seek to improve quality of life in communities and foster creativity and innovation. For the second year, a high number of businesses also responded that they promote board service at arts organizations.

“This study demonstrates the importance of the business community’s commitment and support for the arts,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “This support now and in the future is critical to encouraging more partnerships between the business community and arts organizations, which can improve community quality of life and help attract and retain a skilled workforce and build new markets."

“The business community loves the arts,” said Steve Odland, President & CEO, The Conference Board. “America’s companies are using partnerships with arts organizations to spark creative solutions to society’s biggest challenges.”

Whereas the finance industry had the highest level of engagement with the arts, manufacturing companies contribute higher amounts than either financial services and nonfinancial services peers. On average, manufacturers contribute $4.6 million, financial services $2.2 million, and nonfinancial services $565,000. Manufacturing companies—an industry that thrives on innovation—appear to be more attuned to the business benefits of supporting the arts than others. More than half of manufacturing respondents say they believe supporting the arts can stimulate creative thinking and problem solving, compared with 43 percent of financial services companies and 48 percent of nonfinancial services companies.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Sixty-three percent of companies promote board service at arts organizations;
  • Three-quarters of companies distribute arts contributions locally;
  • Seventy-nine percent of companies believe arts improve the quality of life in the community;
  • Sixty-three percent of companies believe the arts contribute to the economy;
  • More than half of respondents overall (53 percent) reported that arts support contributes to stimulating creative thinking and problem solving;
  • On average, the arts make up 34 percent of a company’s philanthropic contributions. Smaller organizations had a higher average, around 50 percent. The average was closer to 10 percent for companies with more than $25 billion in revenue;
  • Of companies with over $25 billion in revenue, 50 percent responded that they have an interest in using the arts to address diversity in the workplace.

About Business Contributions to the Arts: 2018 Edition

Since 1969, Americans for the Arts through the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), has been conducting the BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts. Business Contributions to the Arts: 2018 Edition is the second edition of the annual report published jointly by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts. Conducted in the summer of 2018, this year’s survey garnered 132 responses from small, midsize, and large US businesses. It asked for information based on corporate practices at the time of the survey compilation.

Americans for the Arts serves, advances, and leads the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America. Founded in 1960, Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. Additional information is available at

The Conference Board delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. We connect senior executives across industries and geographies to share ideas, develop insights, and recommend policy to address key issues. Our mission is to help leaders anticipate what’s ahead, improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232

Joseph DiBlasi


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