The 3rd Challenge – Ballet Chicago


The Ross Chicago AMAP Non-profit Initiative:  Creating Deep, Positive Change in our Community

In April 2011, Ross started its 3rdAMAP initiative with Ballet Chicago. Ballet Chicago (BC) is a leading, international non-profit ballet school that trains and performs in the Ballanchine style.  Five months later in September, the Ross AMAP team created the foundation for a Strategy Plan.  Team member, Manisha Singh (EMBA2004), worked for the next few months to help them finish and get board approval for a five-year plan.

The Ross AMAP Team: (left to right) Marianne Hewitt – Project Manager; Patricia Blair - School Director, Ballet Chicago; Bob Bondlow – Operations Mgr, Ballet Chicago; Nathanael Hall – Strategy Associate; Manisha Singh – Strategy Consultant, EMBA2004. Not pictured:Hugh Jedwill – Account Director, MBA2004; Nicole Lusignon, Community Mgr, MBA2009.

In April 2011, Ross started its 3rd AMAP initiative with Ballet Chicago. Ballet Chicago (BC) is a leading, international non-profit ballet school that trains and performs in the Ballanchine style.  Five months later in September, the Ross AMAP team created the foundation for a Strategy Plan.  Team member, Manisha Singh (EMBA2004), worked for the next few months to help them finish and get board approval for a five-year plan.

Dan Duell, Artistic Director, Ballet Chicago

Timing of the Strategic Plan was critical for BC.  They had grown to a $1 million organization but were operating on the same principles for over ten years.  In their words:

“The growth that has occurred in the past year places Ballet Chicago on the cusp of a higher tier of performing arts organizations in metropolitan Chicago. With a budget of over $1,000,000 for FY2011, the organization has entered into a different category of fundraising and is now competing with larger arts organizations for the same funding dollars.”

Patricia Blair, School Director, Ballet Chicago

It was clear that they could benefit from a team of Ross Chicago alums.  The team formed in partnership with the Taproot Foundation, a nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society.  In addition, Ross Alums felt a special bond to BC, as they truly build people’s character and leadership through an empowering educational experience. In the words of Patricia Blair, School Director:

“…we want children who can go into the world with the utmost faith in themselves, with kindness and care for other people, with knowing how to be a team player and pitch in and be one of those that walks into the room and makes it better just by their being there.”

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