Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre (AAADT) is a worldwide sensation. That sounds hyperbolic, but it’s true; the company has performed in 71 countries on six continents, winning awards and packing performance halls across the globe for 60 years.
That kind of success in the arts world is almost always tied to philanthropy, and in Ailey’s case, it is partly the result of a 35-year partnership with the Prudential Foundation. The Prudential Foundation (PF), which has focused on both on place-based philanthropy in its home of Newark, New Jersey, and on globally inclusive economies, has supported the performance and education work of the Alvin Ailey Foundation since 1984. The Alvin Ailey Foundation encompasses the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, a company of younger performers called Ailey II, the Ailey School, and various dance education and outreach programs that continue the visionary work of the company’s namesake and founder.
What makes this partnership special is not just its longevity, but the nature of support that has allowed Ailey to grow into a stable, globally recognized organization. Unlike many grantmaking organizations, in this case at least, Prudential has not only made significant, sometimes unrestricted financial commitments, they have leveraged their own relationships and knowledge for Ailey’s benefit. They have been partners in the truest sense, committed to Ailey’s growth and serving as ambassadors to other supporters and opportunities.