It was 1994, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was onstage at the Apollo Theater. Backstage, word was spreading.
Joan H. Weill
Joan H. Weill is going out with a bang. After her 14 years as chairwoman of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation and 20 years on its board, the company on Thursday evening planned to announce that more than $40 million had been raised in honor of her retirement.
On any given evening, some of the nearly 38,000 registered nonprofits in New York City - sometimes it feels like all of them - stage benefit dinner-dances, concerts, auctions, art shows, poetry readings, theater performances...
I often teach that arts organizations should design their 'ideal board' and then work to build that board over time. By 'ideal,' I do not mean a group of the richest, most powerful people in the country; most arts organizations do not have the ability to attract these people. I mean a board of engaged, passionate supporters who can give and get reasonable levels of donations, who can oversee strategic plans, who can understand and approve budgets and who can serve as ambassadors for the institution.
Joan Weill, who has served on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's board for 20 years, the last 14 as chairman, said on Wednesday that she is retiring. "A couple of months ago, I felt like now is the time," she said.
Joan H. Weill, a 20-year trustee of the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, will step down as chairwoman at the end of the year, the company is to announce on Thursday. Under Mrs. Weill, who has been chairwoman since 2000, the Ailey organization built a permanent home at the corner of 55th Street and Ninth Avenue, named the Joan Weill Center for Dance, which opened in 2005.
Joan H. Weill, a driving force at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation Inc., will retire as chairman of its board at the end of the year, the dance company announced Wednesday. Ms. Weill, 80, has been on the board since 1994 and its chairman since 2000. The company's headquarters on Ninth Avenue and West 55th Street is also named after her.
Given that she is 77 years old and has been on the board of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for 17 years, 11 as chairwoman, Joan H. Weill clearly does not need to serve any longer. She could simply be enjoying time with her husband, Sanford I. Weill, who recently retired as the head of Citigroup.
Who's who when it comes to the most important private funders of New York City's unparalleled cultural offerings? The list would be long. But it would have to include these power patrons of the arts.
In her 10 years as chairman of Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation Inc., Joan Weill has raised $75 million for the organization's state-of-the-art building; helped to more than double its annual operating budget, to $29 million; and more than tripled the amount of funds brought in at its annual opening-night gala.