The Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia provides businesses with skills-based volunteer opportunities for their employees to expand their professional capabilities, creativity and networks, which help to ensure their competency in the workplace and engagement in the community. The Arts & Business Council has partnered with global professional services firm Towers Watson to survey its business and legal participants about the impact that participating in Council programs has had on their professional development and personal enrichment.

Amy Leis of Janney Montgomery Scott, a business executive who has participated in a Council program, was matched by the Council on a project with the Wilma Theatre and Philadelphia Young Playwrights. Leis, who has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, worked with both organizations to develop a corporate training program that would serve as an additional source of revenue for the Wilma. Leis said she feels the impact of this experience “all the time” in the office. 

The experience of volunteers such as Leis has been quantified in the numbers below. The following is a sneak-preview of the final report which will be rolled out later this summer. We take great pride in the accomplishments of our business and legal volunteers and we are excited to share these preliminary results.

What Do Business & Legal Professionals Learn From the Creative Sector?

  • 85% of Council participants agree that their involvement in a Council program enhanced their leadership and professional skills such as negotiation, achieving consensus and decision-making.
  • 80% of participants say they’ve become more skilled at working with others towards a common purpose, whether or not they knew the other group members well.
  • 77% of Council participants tell us that following involvement in Council programs, they are able to more positively influence the actions, behaviors and opinions of others.

 Business & Legal Professionals engage more fully in the arts following Council participation

  • Participants in all Council programs increased their financial support to arts organizations; some even doubled their support after working with the arts.
  • Participants sited increased attendance at arts events and 65% said that they continued their involvement over time.
  • 76% of Council participants said that their involvement strengthened their belief that a stronger arts community makes for a stronger business community.

We are pleased to report that our arts clients are not the only beneficiaries of the Arts & Business Council’s programs. This is exemplified in Amy Leis’ description of the professional impact derived from her time volunteering:

“I experienced first-hand the sense of fun, curiosity and creative thinking can have with the Wilma Theatre and so that has carried over to Janney.  There’s a lot of value in a big corporation to throwing out ideas and suggestions freely, to encouraging interaction and to asking yourself and your colleagues how else can we… or what more can we do…?”

The Executive Report of the survey findings will be available in the Summer of 2011.  To receive a copy, e-mail astokes@artsandbusinessphila.o