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IABD grants five leading black dance companies $500,000

Washington, DC - The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) has awarded each of its five (5) founding member companies -- Cleo Parker Robinson Dance; Dallas Black Dance Theatre; Dayton Contemporary Dance Company; Lula Washington Dance Theatre; and The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!) -- $100,000 each in unrestricted grants, totaling a half million dollars, to be applied to general operating expenses. IABD awarded its IMPACT 100 grants during its inaugural financial and organizational health program, MOVE: Managing Organizational Vitality and Endurance, which was generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“These grants will enable five leading dance companies, that are all deeply vested in African-American neighborhoods across the United States as evidenced by their operations of dance companies, facilities, programs, and schools to pursue greater innovation and take new risks, both organizationally and artistically,” said Denise Saunders Thompson, President and CEO of IABD. “Despite their creative excellence and international acclaim, many smaller and midsized Black dance companies have had to come to terms with inadequate capitalization and other business challenges. In addition to providing these companies with operating investments, we are also collaborating around financial planning and organizational development strategies and training with the Nonprofit Finance Fund, who have been wonderful partners.”

The cohort of founding organizations convened for a three-day MOVE Financial Leadership Clinic in Dayton, OH from June 23 - 25. The Clinic provided both peer-to-peer learning opportunities and a three-day intensive administered by Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) with additional support sessions by Arts Action Research and Baraka Sele. Artistic and executive leadership training for organizational health included access to consultants, information, and tools, that will support longevity and strengthen the capacity of these organizations to remain recognized artistic and thought leaders.

In March 2018, IABD received a $2,636,000, multi-year grant award from The Mellon Foundation for its continued support of the organization’s Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative (COHI), Phase II. This grant, in partnership with Nonprofit Finance Fund, offers capital deployment, financial consultation, and technical assistance to participating IABD member companies. Responding directly to many of the lessons learned from Phase I activities (i.e. site visits, financial diagnostics, educational workshops), it serves as recommended next steps to strengthen IABD, Inc., its member organizations, and by extension, the field of Black dance. The collaborative nature of this program aims to ensure the vitality of the Black dance sector by addressing historic barriers, building parity among Black dance organizations that support and create work with differing aesthetics, and developing new organizational processes and practices for nonprofit arts organizations.

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