The Women’s Leadership Council: Helping to Democratize the Arts
Few endeavors are as rewarding and fun as my work with the Women’s Leadership Council.
This group of extraordinary business leaders and philanthropists have joined forces to raise money for the eight performing arts organizations and two educational institutions supported by the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund. These organizations include New York City’s most iconic and prized performing arts institutions: New York City Ballet, Juilliard, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center Theater, Film Society Lincoln Center, and The School of American Ballet. These cultural gems are emblematic of our great city, with some of the best programming, performers and educational offerings in the word.
The council was formed in 2013 and is comprised of women who are dedicated to preserving and enhancing the arts in New York City. Because the funds we raise are unrestricted, the entire Lincoln Center campus is given the freedom to use them to maximum effect, which involves developing high-quality, new productions on a regular basis, as well as furthering community outreach by offering free performances and more educational programming.
The Women’s Leadership Council marries many of my interests, including female mentorship, entrepreneurship, the arts, and community outreach. The Lincoln Center Corporate Fund is designed to embody the ideal of entrepreneurial and creative partnerships. Business leaders draw from their wealth of experience and professional contacts to raise awareness of the needs and challenges faced by the artistic community, and make a difference. This business support has been invaluable, ensuring that the city’s most influential performing arts complex continues to thrive and reach millions in its community outreach initiatives each year. The Council’s mandatory mentorship component also allows tenured inductees to guide Junior Council Members through the early stages of their careers.
And though it might seem nothing is better than watching a breathtaking performance that you helped to support, I’ve been most taken with the community outreach programs our efforts enable. These are programs that are either new or have greatly expanded as a result of the Corporate Fund’s work.
Juilliard has a robust program in place. The Juilliard for All program offers free online courses to youth and adults to help interested parties sharpen their musical skills or enhance their knowledge. They’re also opening free, live-streamed master classes to music lovers that otherwise wouldn’t have access to a world-class education.
The Metropolitan Opera transmits its live performances to movie theaters around the world. The current season includes 10 operas, which will be shown on over 2,000 screens in over 70 countries. They’re also bringing opera education into schools, offering affordable classes to the community, and hosting free talks and lectures to bring a greater understanding and appreciation of opera to a wider audience.
The School of American Ballet holds free, family-friendly auditions and lecture-demonstrations at community-based locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Chinatown, Harlem, and Queens. The Lincoln Center showcases weekly free performances and distributes discounted tickets. It also provides arts and education programs to over 80 New York area public schools, and presents special events and employment opportunities to US veterans. The New York Philharmonic Young People’s Concerts program helps children — from early childhood through to the teen years — grow up with music and explore musical topics through the repertory of all periods. And the list goes on.
Each one of the 10 organizations we support has a robust program designed to touch more lives, educate more minds, and spread greater opportunities. Maybe we’re creating more art enthusiasts. Maybe we’re allowing the next Misty Copeland her first whiff of inspiration and purpose. Either way, it’s amazing.
These organizations are actively strengthening New York, but their international presence means that the impact is global, too. The Women’s Leadership Council is proud to fuel their work. The Council’s female business leaders have spearheaded a unique and important avenue to give back. We expand our own business networks with other driven, socially conscious women, and we expand the reach of the arts, locally and abroad.
This post originally appeared on Debrah Lee Charatan’s Philanthropy blog