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The Joffrey welcomes Mimi de Castro, Associate Director of Corporate Sponsorships; Christina Grant, Director of Audience Development; and Matt de la Peña, Director of Communications


March 7, 2018 (Chicago) – The Joffrey Ballet has received a $1 million grant from the Alphawood Foundation to fund a transformational three-year project aimed at audience expansion and sustainability. The grant will be distributed over a three-year period, allowing the Joffrey to implement new marketing and development initiatives. The grant is intended to support these new initiatives over the next three years, after which they will become self-sustaining as part of the Joffrey’s goal to generate new audiences and revenue.


With the acceptance of the first payment under the grant, the Joffrey has committed to attaining certain levels of annual contributed revenue, performance revenue and related metrics. To do so, the organization has identified and filled three key positions to enhance its Marketing and Development team. These new roles are as follows: Associate Director of Corporate Sponsorships (Mimi de Castro), tasked with cultivating and stewarding corporate prospects and corporate donors to maximize sponsorship revenue; Director of Audience Development (Christina Grant), dedicated to identifying key audiences and demographics to promote growth and inclusion; and Director of Communications (Matt de la Peña), responsible for executing the organization’s strategic messaging and content development.


“The Joffrey is growing at its fastest rate in history,” said Executive Director Greg Cameron. “The addition of three full-time positions with specialized skill-sets is another chance to engage our partners and our patrons in new ways. We want to thank the Alphawood Foundation for its long-time support of the Joffrey and for making this opportunity possible.”


Using models tested and proven by other performing arts organizations nationwide, over the next three years, the Joffrey intends to increase ticket sales and revenue by deepening relationships with audiences, resulting in repeat ticket purchases, subscriptions, and contributed revenue. The plan calls for advanced methods of data research to support several key areas of growth, including the evaluation of pricing structures, one-to-one marketing strategies, audience data analysis, and the creation of new digital assets for further audience engagement.


The Joffrey audience has grown by 19% over the past three years. At the end of the 2016-2017 season, the organization reached a total ticket revenue of $7 million—its highest ever. Through the audience development project, the Joffrey aims to improve upon those numbers to serve an even broader population.


Alphawood Foundation Executive Director James McDonough added, “In recent years, The Joffrey Ballet has shown impressive growth in several key areas. The successful implementation of Joffrey’s new audience development plan is an important next step in the Company’s continued success. We are pleased to provide the financial resources to keep this momentum going.”


About Mimi de Castro

Mimi de Castro joined the Joffrey in January 2018. She brings a combination of marketing, communications and development experience from her time with TimeZoneOne where she was a Tourism and Agency Account Director. De Castro previously held positions with Choose Chicago, Chicago History Museum, Chicago Loop Alliance and the Shedd Aquarium. She graduated from Columbia College with a B.A. in Marketing Communications.


About Christina Grant

Christina Grant joined the Joffrey in August 2017. She previously worked at Lincoln Park Zoo and the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Audience Research and Evaluation. She is a graduate of DePaul University (B.S. in Psychology) and of Loyola University Chicago (M.A. in Research Methodology. She specializes in statistics, research design and program evaluation.


About Matt de la Peña

Matt de la Peña joined the Joffrey in September 2017 after spearheading publicity for the Chicago-based law firm Levinson and Stefani and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Prior to that, he was a staff writer and editor at Time Out Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa (B.A. Journalism and Communications) and DePaul University (M.A. Writing and Publishing).


About The Joffrey Ballet

Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its company, audiences, and repertoire which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces, and contemporary works.


The Company’s commitment to accessibility is met through an extensive touring schedule, an innovative and highly effective education program including the much-lauded Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, Community Engagement programs, and collaborations with myriad other visual and performing arts organizations.


Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron.
The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of 2017-2018 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, NIB Foundation, and the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, Live Music Sponsor The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music, and 2017-2018 Season Partners: pamella roland and Fox Ford Lincoln, Clear Channel Airports, Chicago Athletic Clubs, JW Marriott, and Official Provider of Physical Therapy, Athletico.


For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, visit Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


About Alphawood Foundation

Alphawood Foundation is a Chicago-based, grant-making private foundation working for an equitable, just, and humane society. Each year we award grants to organizations, primarily in the areas of advocacy, architecture and preservation, the arts and arts education, promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT citizens and people living with HIV/AIDS, and other human
and civil rights.

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