2018’s well over halfway over, so we decided to take some time to reflect – and celebrate, because this year marks the Arts & Business Council of Chicago’s 33rd year in operation, and to us, that’s a big deal.

We’ve had a rich history focused on strengthening Chicago’s creative and cultural economy through dynamic partnerships with our community’s best business leaders, starting in 1985 as Business Volunteers for the Arts. After several years of growth and expansion, and the addition of new programs and initiatives, we officially became the Arts & Business Council of Chicago in 1994.

After all these years, Business Volunteers for the Arts remains our flagship program, and we’re excited to share that since launching the program, we have provided over $10 million in pro bono services to arts and cultural organizations in Chicago ($4 million in just the past 10 years). And our On BOARD program, in its 10 year life span, has trained and matched over 300 volunteers with arts and cultural boards of directors around the city. According to our estimates, an On BOARD match brings approximately $20,000 in new revenue (over a typical three year term of service) to the organization.

Our history is important to us, but our focus is on the future. We know that Chicago’s arts and culture can’t be its best if all of our city’s artistic voices aren’t at the table. That’s why we’re forming a commitment to expand our capacity-building work to all 77 neighborhoods in Chicago. We have a lot of work to do in this area, so stay tuned for more details about our future plans to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion into our programs, operations, leadership, and more.

So we’re happy about our 33 years of awesome achievements – but we’re very excited at the idea of doing so much more in our next 33.