As more and more people find themselves changing locations for work or family reasons, it’s not unusual for newcomers to communities to wonder how to get connected. It takes a while to put down the proverbial “roots” at the same time you are navigating a new environment. This has been my personal experience, living in two countries outside the U.S. and four states within it before settling in Cincinnati. With each move, I’ve remembered my mother’s frequent advice to me as a child: “Grow where you are planted.”

One way to grow where you are planted, and find yourself more “at home” in your community, is by volunteering. There’s something about giving of yourself and your time or talent that syncs you to your surroundings. That’s certainly true in Cincinnati, which is one of the most inherently and wonderfully philanthropic cities I have ever known. Here, more and more companies are encouraging employee volunteerism not only as a way of “giving back” but also as a way of “embedding in” – that is, making employees feel stronger bonds with this community. That feeling is crucial to business talent retention and by extension, a thriving regional economy.

ArtsWave has done some research around the relationship between arts participation and civic engagement. It turns out, there is a strong correlation between people who participate in the arts and people who are engaged in community activities like volunteering. What insights do we draw from this fact? Very simply put: The arts can powerfully reinforce business strategies to keep top employees and their families. The arts can help people here grow, connect and thrive.

This issue of The Ripple Effect looks at volunteering in Cincinnati in three distinct ways: inside our arts organizations, as part of our region’s unique Welcomers Network, and within the upcoming ArtsWave Community Campaign. As we count down to the kick-off of this year’s ArtsWave Campaign, we acknowledge the hundreds of businesses and thousands of employees that will donate their time as well as dollars to support 100 arts organizations throughout the region. We promise them an authentic, enriching experience in return for their investment. If you are among them, thank you. If you would like to explore how ArtsWave and the arts can be part of your company’s employee retention and growth strategies, please call me anytime. 

Tell us YOUR stories of volunteering in the arts at #ArtsRipple.