Chicago Dancemakers Forum

The Chicago Dancemakers Forum knows how fruitful a partnership with The Chicago Community Trust can be. After all, CDF was born out of the Trust's Excellence in Dance Initiative, a project that sought to strengthen dance in metropolitan Chicago from 2001 to 2005.

The organization received seed money from the Trust for its first three years of operation as it cultivated cutting-edge works. Ten years later, CDF opened a donor advised fund at the Trust as it embarked on a fundraising campaign to continue nurturing the artistic growth of Chicago’s most innovative choreographers.

"We wanted a donor advised fund at the Trust because the Trust is a really experienced, grounded, community-focused organization," says Ginger Farley, a member of the consortium that leads CDF (pictured, right, with part-time director Victoria Bradford, left).

With a donor advised fund at the Trust, CDF is able to efficiently support its campaign and maximize its resources. The Trust now handles important administrative tasks, such as maintaining records of CDF donors and preparing and filing tax returns. In addition, the Trust provides professional investment management of CDF's fund and accepts complex gifts such as stocks and real estate on behalf of CDF—a vital service for a small organization seeking to raise $1 million to sustain itself for the next 10 years.

"One of the things that's great about the donor advised fund for the Chicago Dancemakers Forum is that it provides that back-office support without increasing our overhead and taking any more money away from the artists," Farley says.

While the financial and administrative services the Trust provides for CDF is valuable, CDF also partnered with the Trust because of its deep-rooted commitment to the cultural vibrancy of the Chicago region. "We started here," reflects Farley. "It seemed poetic and just right to come back home."


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