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Wooden Floor Touted for Using Arts Education to Break Cycles of Poverty

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Jul 07, 2017

The summer issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) features a profile of The Wooden Floor (Santa Ana, CA), a dance organization that has scaled its arts education model while still maintaining a commitment to tight-knit community outreach. For over three decades, The Wooden Floor (TWF) has used its dance curriculum to help students break cycles of poverty and commit to attending college—for many of the students, they are the first person in their family to attend.

According to SSIR, “TWF’s leadership team decided that they had a responsibility to share the TWF program but preserve the effective execution of its local operations. It was serving less than 1 percent of Santa Ana children eligible for the program, and local funders needed assurance that their donations would be utilized for operations nearby, not across the country.”

To expand their reach, TWF decided to provide its comprehensive model by using a licensing partnership agreement with other nonprofits.

“We provide each licensed partner with The Wooden Floor in a Box: consulting, training, and curriculum to implement our program model for a license fee,” Reese explains. “In this way, organizations can function independently under their own governance, financial, and branding structures.”

Learn more about TWF and their model here.

About The Wooden Floor

Founded in 1983, The Wooden Floor (TWF) is one of the foremost creative youth development nonprofit organizations in the country. TWF transforms the lives of young people in low-income communities through the power of dance and access to higher education. In Orange County and through national licensed partners, they use a long-term approach grounded in exploratory dance education to foster the confidence and gifts within each child to innovate, communicate, and collaborate – skills necessary for success in school and in life. 100 percent of students who graduate from The Wooden Floor immediately enroll in higher education.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.