Over the past 7 months, as a loaned executive from Adobe to 1st ACT, I have gained a new appreciation for the difficulties arts organizations face when raising money.
In the heart of Silicon Valley, with its corporate giants and start-up millionaires, there is very little investment in the arts and culture ecosystem. That’s because 70-80% of Silicon Valley’s wealth leaves the region.
I probably shouldn’t have been surprised — understanding the global nature of business. But I am disappointed that more of my peers and former colleagues in corporate philanthropy don’t include arts and culture in their giving portfolios.
Study after study have demonstrated the link between creativity and the arts to higher academic achievement, to attainment of 21st century skills, to brain development and early literacy, and social and emotional development.
Corporate leaders talk about creativity being an essential skill for the 21st century workforce. They want to hire people who are problem solvers, are flexible and can adapt quickly to new situations, are culturally competent and open to working with others.
Their employees want to live in creative communities and they want high quality creative opportunities for their children. Creativity is critical to our region, to the country and the world.
I believe creativity is a key to corporate engagement.
Creativity can inspire corporations to give locally, support their community, support the growth of their employees and their connectedness to this community. Creativity is the link and 1stACT is preparing to unleash a new initiative called the Children’s Creativity Network (CCN). The CCN is a partnership of public and private organizations, arts and cultural organizations, and children and youth-serving organizations, aimed at unleashing and nurturing the creativity of all of Silicon Valley’s children and youth.
Creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of Silicon Valley. We must work together to foster them for the next generation of citizens and the workforce.