Ballet AZ Blog

In The Spotlight: Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Ballet Arizona is honored and thrilled to be selected to participate in Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust’s two-year program called AGILE. Launched in 2017, AGILE  is a Trust-initiated capacity building program designed to strengthen and reinforce the operations of arts and culture grantee organizations with operating budgets of at least $1 million. The goals of AGILE’s capacity building are to increase the operational skills of the participants and the overall strengths of each organization and additionally, to examine and improve the habits and practices which inform current decision-making. Ballet Arizona is proud to be among one of four organizations participating in the second cohort of AGILE alongside the Herberger Theater Center, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and ASU Art Museum.

The AGILE program is unique as it couples organization-specific capacity building with a significant financial investment. This approach helps build the organization’s operating capacity and strengthen their artistic vision. Over the next two years, Ballet Arizona will work one-on-one with a nonprofit lifecycles expert, complete a comprehensive Lifecycles Self Assessment*, and develop a business plan to address the issues identified.

“An invitation to participate in AGILE is a vote of confidence in Ballet Arizona and recognition of its artistic excellence and benefit to our community. AGILE aims to build the Ballet’s financial resilienceby supporting the vision of its world-class artistic director, the health and future of its dancers, and the development of professional staff—all of whom devote themselves to Ballet Arizona and its audience of almost 90,000 people a year. It is Piper Trust’s privilege to collaborate with the Ballet in this effort.“

Ellen Solowey, Senior Program Officer

Over the course of two years, Ballet Arizona will be awarded two grants from Piper Trust totaling up to $500,000.  These investments will support areas the Ballet needs to strengthen such as its financial accounting systems, marketing/fundraisingefforts, or donor management, for example.

“We are so grateful and proud to be selected for participation in AGILE,” said Samantha Turner, Executive Director. “This opportunity could not come at a better time for Ballet Arizona, as we feel our organization is on the verge of something transformational. We have been trying to maintain healthy operating budgets over the past five years while continuing to produce interesting and relevant art for our community. To have a local foundation recognize the challenges that arts organizations face today is a tremendous gift. We will undoubtedly benefit from Piper Trust’s strategic investment in the financial health of our organization and strive to become more resilient and capitalized. It has been a lot of work for our board, staff, and Piper Trust to take a deep look into our business model operations, financials, and systems to assess where we are to determine how far we can go.”

*To learn more about nonprofit lifecycles please reference the book Nonprofit Lifecycles: Stage-Based Wisdom for Nonprofit Capacity authored by Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens.
Learn more about Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

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