When it comes to having the “smarts for the arts,” it’s all about making smart investments and understanding the intricate connection between community, business, people and place. Perhaps no organization knows this better than the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union (NLCU).
Investment in the arts is a key element of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and necessary for creating diverse and thriving communities says Shannon Goodyear, Director of Marketing and Communications with NLCU (the largest credit union in Atlantic Canada, with 12 branches located across the province).
Since 2011, NLCU has been the official corporate sponsor of the NLCU Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers. This biennial award offers one of the most generous prizes in Canada to an emerging writer who has not yet published a book.
“NLCU chooses to support the NLCU Fresh Fish Award because we are smart businesspeople. We know that Newfoundland and Labrador has a vibrant culture of storytelling, and has cultivated a national and international reputation for producing award-winning literature,” Goodyear says. He points to the scriptwriting for Republic of Doyle; Bernice Morgan’s novels Random Passage and Waiting for Time (both of which inspired a TV mini-series); and the recent filming based on Chad Pelley’s debut novel, Away From Everywhere, as perfect examples.
“Success stories like these put Newfoundland and Labrador in the spotlight, bring tourist dollars to our communities, make our province more attractive to immigrants, and provide employment opportunities to the many people working in the arts and related sectors. Our communities grow, and when our communities grow, so do we.”
There are other benefits as well, Goodyear says. For instance, investment in the arts can bolster a company’s reputation and sense of self. Corporate values, which are shared by those who work there, are part of the glue that holds the NLCU team together and contributes to a positive corporate culture.
“The Fresh Fish Award is a project that speaks directly to our corporate values of excellence, empowerment, education and social responsibility. By sponsoring the award, NLCU is making a deliberate investment in an initiative that shares those same values. For our employees, it instills pride in our place of work. To our credit union members and communities, it communicates what matters to us and helps to construct our corporate identity,” Goodyear explains.
Supporting the arts also opens the way for strengthening ties within the arts community, Goodyear adds. For instance, the Fresh Fish Award is administered by the non-profit Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador, and by a charity called the Literary Arts Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“By nurturing these relationships, NLCU could begin to identify more partnership opportunities that would build on the knowledge and expertise of each of the parties involved for mutually-beneficial outcomes,” Goodyear says.
“When businesses like NLCU support the arts, we are enhancing our communities, reaffirming our values, solidifying our reputation as a community-minded organization, and making strategic connections with the potential for future collaboration. It’s smart investing. But it’s smart business too.”