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“Being sustainable is not an afterthought. It’s an integral part of what you do in your creative process.”– Felicia Rosenfeld, Executive Director, Dance Resource Center
Even in rehearsal, once the music starts, California Community Foundation Arts grantee Viver Brasil is on stage. For 18 years, the company has celebrated the rich cultural history of Afro-Brazilian dance all over the world. To Founder and Artistic Director Linda Yudin, every performance is a gift. “I’m thrilled to be able to share this art that is telling of a specific Afro-Brazilian culture but is also very much about Los Angeles,” Linda says.
From arts and education to clinics and shelters, nonprofit organizations touch the lives of every L.A. County resident. But balancing high-quality programming with the fundraising necessary to cover day-to-day overhead can be a huge struggle. This year, CCF gave more than $1.2 million to promote sustainable nonprofits, supporting organizations like the Dance Resource Center which provides resources and programming that support professional dance’s infrastructure and creative process, while promoting the viability and visibility of dance in Los Angeles.
To help confront challenges facing nonprofits, CCF partnered with The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Weingart Foundation and other funders to develop the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI), which this year provided more than $260,000 to help nonprofits serve the people of L.A. County more efficiently. Since 2012, NSI has helped more than 65 organizations assess capacity, support restructuring, integrate programs and share their lessons across the nonprofit sector.
This year, NSI helped the Dance Resource Center merge with another organization to become more sustainable and better able to help dance nonprofits thrive. The initiative provides a neutral table for nonprofits to explore a range of partnership options, from shared back offices to full mergers. By funding facilitators, lawyers, financial consultation and more, NSI gives nonprofits a chance to restructure to maximize impact and become stronger.
A healthy nonprofit sector means a better life for everyone in Los Angeles. “It’s important that we are able to understand the art of business as well as creating the art itself,” says Linda. Because beyond the costumes and music and pulsing drums, Viver Brasil is committed to ensuring new generations continue to have access to the arts.
2014-2015 VISION: Provide nonprofits with training, tools and resources they need to become sustainable, and create a space to explore and pursue strategic restructuring. Awarded 30 grants totaling $1.24 million.