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The International Association of Blacks In Dance Announces 2021 INFLUENCERS Cohort


The five companies that comprise the cohort will each receive a total of $150,000 over the next three years.

The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) announces the INFLUENCERS Cohort for the 2021 COHI | MOVE program: IABD Supports Five Dance Companies across the U.S. through multi-year funding totaling more than $750,000 in Awards. The five companies that comprise the cohort will each receive a total of $150,000 over the next three years: Collage Dance Collective, Memphis, TN; Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Chicago, IL; Emerge 125, New York, NY; KanKouran West African Dance Company, Washington, DC; and StepAfrika!, Washington, DC.

"IABD is pleased to support these dance companies through our partnership with Nonprofit Finance Fund," said Denise Saunders Thompson, president and CEO of IABD. "These times remain challenging as dance organizations approach over a year and half of being shut down. The next three to four years are critical, as this cohort will continue the capacity building and capital deployment methodologies used to strengthen Black Dance companies, with the goal of creating more adaptable organizations that carry on vibrant artistic programming. We are extremely excited to work with this next cohort and remain committed to their organizational and financial health."

The organizations were selected based on several key considerations for participation:

  • commitment to collaborative participation and engagement with IABD, NFF, program consultants, and cohort companies,

  • the depth of community relationships,

  • demand for local based programming greater than the organization's ability to provide,

  • engagement and demonstrated support of local artists and the local arts community,

  • demonstrated loss for the community if this organization no longer existed.

The Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative (COHI) | Managing Organizational Vitality and Endurance (MOVE) is a multi-phase and collaborative program in partnership with the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) designed to improve the structural and financial health of dance companies. The program has a strong emphasis on peer learning and evaluation that delivers methodology and resources to strengthen the financial and organizational health of the IABD Membership. NFF provides the analytic basis, requisite data, training, and planning for a comprehensive initiative that addresses the financial capacity and capitalization needs for long-term stability of these critical dance organizations. In partnership with NFF, IABD will offer access to financial coaching so that companies may receive strategic feedback and guidance as they seek to apply the learnings to their organizations. IABD will also underwrite access to discrete consulting engagements over the course of the four-year period.

Gifts from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation support the Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative | Managing Organizational Vitality and Endurance (COHI | MOVE) program.

For 30 years, The International Association of Blacks in Dance has preserved and promoted dance by people of African ancestry or origin and has assisted and increased opportunities for artists in advocacy, audience development, education, funding, networking, performance, philosophical dialogue, and touring. IABD serves a diverse, national and international membership of agents and managers, dance companies and studios, educators and educational institutions, individual artists, researchers, and supporters of the Dance field.

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