The Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC), an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) works to strengthen the region’s creative sector, including arts, culture and for-profit creative businesses.  ABC does this by engaging the business, legal & technology communities, providing capacity-building services, and serving as a thought leader and a convener.  PIDC is a public-private partnership between the City of Philadelphia and GPCC and collaborates with ABC to provide value added services to its clients by introducing them to programs offered through ABC and GPCC.

A program that speaks to this collaboration is the Arts & Business Councils Business On Board Leadership Development program.  Through this program, the Arts & Business Council provides training to business and legal professionals on nonprofit board governance issues and places these professionals on boards and committees of arts and cultural organizations.  The four-month, leadership development program not only provides the business community with board placement opportunities, it also allows professionals who currently sit on arts and cultural boards to participate in classroom sessions that provide instruction in the legal, ethical and financial responsibilities of nonprofit board members, with an emphasis on understanding our dynamic arts and cultural sector.

Since 1996, Business On Board has placed over 500 business and legal professionals on the boards of nonprofit arts and culture institutions throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.  Among these placements are a number of PIDC clients including the Asian Arts Initiative, Historic Philadelphia, Inc., Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Plays & Players, Please Touch Museum, Settlement Music School and the Wilma Theater.

Robert Minton, a graduate of the Business On Board class of 2008, was elected to the board of the Asian Arts Initiative shortly after he completed the classroom sessions.  Minton still sits on the Asian Arts Initative board five years later is a great example of an active nonprofit board contributor after the program.

“The Business on Board program helped me gain a greater understanding for how my for-profit business experience could be applied to the non-profit world, helping me to maximize the contribution I could make to the Asian Arts Initiative says Minton.  Additionally, the program grew my for-profit business skills and improved my problem solving acumen.  I highly recommend the Business on Board program for the fact that it quickly educates you on the non-profit business model and allows you to more quickly contribute to your chosen organization.”

Gayle Isa, Executive Director of the Asian Arts Initiative, understands how important dedicated board members are to the arts and cultural community. According to Gayle, “Having business and civic leaders on board has been essential to Asian Arts Initiative in helping us to grow our organization and to achieve the development of our new facility.”

The sentiments of Minton and Isa are shared by the many members of Philadelphia’s vibrant arts and culture scene who have participated in this unique leadership development and board placement program. Business On Board provides our nonprofit creative community with the opportunity to not only be bolstered by Philadelphia’s business and legal communities but to also be instrumental in shaping Philadelphia’s future leaders.

Applications are currently being accepted for 2013 Business On Board Class. The four sessions for 2013 will be held on January 11, February 8, March 22, and May 3 at arts and cultural venues throughout Center City.

There are three ways to participate:


For more Information on Business on Board, please contact Joseph Guerin at 215.790.3827 or

To learn more on how PIDC can assist your nonprofit organization to grow in Philadelphia through our financing and real estate resources, please contact Carol de Fries at 215.496.8150 or

*Article contributed by Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia