Creative Trust pools fundraising resources

There's strength in numbers. That, put succinctly, is the rationale behind the formation of The Creative Trust - an alliance of some 23 mid-sized dance, theatre and music companies across the province of Ontario, which banded together last fall with the...

There’s strength in numbers. That, put succinctly, is the rationale behind the formation of The Creative Trust – an alliance of some 23 mid-sized dance, theatre and music companies across the province of Ontario, which banded together last fall with the goal of raising $2.5 million in corporate support.

Scaring up sponsorship dollars in this day and age is a struggle even for large cultural organizations, like the National Ballet of Canada or the Canadian Stage Company, that have highly placed corporate board members and fully staffed marketing and development departments. But it’s particularly challenging for smaller companies, says Catherine Smalley, co-ordinator of The Creative Trust.

The reason? In a word, resources. A typical mid-sized arts organization, Smalley says, may have just one staff member responsible for all fundraising activities.

So when the Ontario government announced, in 1998, the creation of its Arts Endowment Fund, which will match whatever donations the province’s arts organizations can raise by Sept. 30 of this year, mid-sized outfits realized that they needed a creative solution.

‘Large organizations already have endowment funds and hold fundraisers all the time,’ Smalley says. ‘And for the smaller – tiny – organizations, the government made certain special provisions. But that large group in the middle, the mid-sized organizations, were stymied. They could see what a great opportunity this was, but they didn’t know how to take advantage of it.’

A core group of about 12 arts organizations came up with The Creative Trust model, Smalley says, and then invited similarly sized groups to join, setting $2.5 million as their fundraising target. Members include Toronto Dance Theatre, Tafelmusik, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Opera Atelier and Tarragon Theatre.

As far as she’s aware, Smalley says, an alliance of this nature has never been attempted before in Canada – at least, not in the arts.

Since its establishment in mid-November, The Creative Trust has been canvassing a ‘hit list’ of companies and associations. (By agreement, none of the organizations on this list will be approached again by an individual Creative Trust member for at least three years.)

One of the fringe benefits of the alliance, Smalley says, is that those members with more experience at drumming up financial support can provide help and advice to those less well-versed this area.

Individual member organizations also have the opportunity to meet corporate sponsors and cultivate relationships with them ‘beyond what might happen as part of the Trust,’ she says.

In February, Toronto-based Jackson-Triggs Vintners became the first major corporate partner to lend support to The Creative Trust.

The winery, which is owned by Vincor International, donated $50,000 to the alliance, and launched a promotional effort aimed at raising another $10,000 through sales of Jackson-Triggs wine.

Jackson-Triggs has been involved previously in sponsorship of the arts, says Don Triggs, president and co-founder of the winery. But after a blockbuster 1999 – which included international awards and the decision to develop a new winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. – the company was looking to get more aggressive in its image-building efforts.

‘We as an industry continue to build our own image and reputation, and I think creative arts have that same struggle,’ Triggs says. ‘That makes us interesting partners.’

In addition to Jackson-Triggs, supporters of the Creative Trust now include The Metcalfe Foundation, which has kicked in $200,000, as well as several yet-to-be-named sponsors.

Sponsorship benefits include signage and other standard forms of recognition, plus hosting opportunities, which enable corporate partners to see the quality of the work they are supporting, and entertain clients at performances.

While Creative Trust members originally had no intention of sticking together past the Sept. 30, 2000 deadline, Smalley says the organizations have already begun to consider future collaborations. It might, for example, be possible for alliance members to pursue collaborative marketing efforts in the tourism arena – something that most individual organizations would lack the resources to do on their own.

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In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.
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The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.