Arts & Business Councils and Business Committees for the Arts
Business Committees for the Arts (BCA) and Arts & Business Councils (A&BC) are organizations that encourage businesses in their operating areas to develop alliances with the arts. Americans for the Arts staff provides support for the network of independent A&BCs and BCAs around the country. While BCAs and A&BCs are very similar and often run the same types of programs, historically BCAs work directly with the business community to foster partnerships, while A&BCs provide training to arts groups to empower them to form the partnerships with businesses.
Business Committee for the Arts
The national Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) was founded in 1967 by David Rockefeller to provide businesses of all sizes with the services and resources necessary to develop and advance partnerships with the arts that benefit businesses, the arts, and the community. The national BCA merged with Americans for the Arts in 2008. Local BCA affiliates advocate for business support for the arts, serves as the group that teaches businesses to understand the value of the arts, and provides opportunities to become involved with and support the arts community.
Arts & Business Council
The national Arts & Business Council (A&BC) was founded in 1965 to support programs that build stronger private sector support for the arts. The national Arts & Business Council merged with Americans for the Arts in 2005. Local Arts & Business Councils are designed to build stronger private sector support for the arts by providing technical support and training for arts organizations. A&BCs, though they work with both the arts and business communities, historically provide professional development, training, and technical assistance opportunities for arts groups to give them the tools to engage the business community. The Arts & Business Council of New York (ABC/NY), is a separate 501(c)(3) under the umbrella of Americans for the Arts, as part of the Private Sector Initiatives department.
A&BCs and BCAs can either be freestanding 501(c)3s or they can be a program of an arts council, local arts agency, or chamber of commerce. They may be organized to operate in a city, a county, a state or a geographic region. View a listing of Arts & Business Councils and Business Committees for the Arts and if you are interested in starting an A&BC or a BCA, visit the Arts & Business Toolbox.
United Arts Funds
United Arts Funds (UAFs) are local arts organizations that raise money from local individuals, businesses, and foundations to regrant to local arts institutions and provide support to the cultural community. UAFs seek to raise money to provide ongoing support to arts groups by consolidating cultural fundraising efforts in one organization, and use their knowledge of the cultural community to disperse the funds accordingly. Over the past 65 years, more than 100 communities across the country–both large and small–have established UAFs. The UAF movement began in 1949, when civic leaders in Cincinnati, OH, and Louisville, KY, determined that a collaborative fundraising effort would be more effective than individual campaigns. Some UAF campaigns are operated by Local Arts Agencies that also run a multitude of other programs, and some operate as stand-alone organizations. View a listing of United Arts Funds (UAF) around the country and learn more about the work they do in their local communities. If you are interested in starting a United Arts Fund, please send us an e-mail at email@example.com to access our United Arts Fund Feasibility Study.
Local Arts Agencies
A Local Arts Agency (LAA) is as a community organization or local government agency that supports cultural organizations, provides services to artists or arts organizations, and/or presents arts programming to the public. LAAs endeavor to make the arts part of the daily fabric of community living. Americans for the Arts also supports LAAs through the Local Arts Network.
Business Volunteers for the Arts®
Americans for the Arts recognizes that engaging business professionals and employees through the arts is key to fostering a desirable work environment, increasing efficiency and morale, and building the competitive advantage of a business. The Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) Network is comprised of organizations that run programs with the aim of engaging employees through the arts. This can be done in a number of ways, but more common programs include virtual volunteering, corporate arts challenges, skills-based volunteering, arts-based training programs, consultant events, mentoring, hackathon events, team-based volunteering, and more. The Business Volunteer for the Arts® (BVA) program, founded in 1975 by the Arts & Business Council (A&BC), came under the auspices of Americans for the Arts after the 2005 merger with A&BC. The BVA Network provides the tools to start skills-based volunteer programs and other employee engagement programs, and connects the network of organizations doing this work across the country. Learn more about the BVA Network.