CSO: CLIMB Award Honoree
By Kit Gladieux
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has been recognized as a 2023 CLIMB Award honoree for its community engagement and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives through the CSO’s Brady Block Party summer series of events.
The CLIMB (Cincinnati Lifts Inclusion and Minority Business) Awards are presented annually by the Cincinnati Business Courier and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. For the past five years, these awards have honored organizations and individuals within Greater Cincinnati who have demonstrated actionable dedication to fostering diversity, equity and inclusivity, both in the workplace and the broader community. Past recipients of this award include Procter & Gamble, FC Cincinnati, Total Quality Logistics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and many others.
“Communities need vision and purpose to reach their highest potential,” writes the Cincinnati Business Courier. The Award honors “organizations [that are] pushing the Tri-State upward through their commitment to inspired, inclusive strategies” and celebrates “how embracing goals of greater diversity and equity fortifies our entire region’s chances for future success.”
The music of the CSO has long resounded within the iconic walls of Cincinnati’s Music Hall, but, over the past two summers, the CSO has invested in bringing music directly to urban neighborhoods in Cincinnati through its Brady Block Parties. These events are not just concerts, they are block parties, complete with family activities, food trucks, local vendors and DJs. “Music is a force for good,” says President and CEO Jonathan Martin, “Music can be a vehicle for unity and community pride. And that is what the Brady Block Parties are all about. The CSO listens and works alongside community leaders to bring something that they want rather than something that’s convenient for us.”
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has now joined the ranks of a group of people and programs with a shared devotion to a more vibrant Cincinnati.
“It is a true honor and deeply humbling for the CSO to be recognized with the CLIMB Award,” says CEO Board President Dianne Rosenberg. “We have been working very hard behind the scenes to build community partnerships, engage with local thought and community leaders, and build strategies that allow for engagement within communities historically underserved by the CSO.”
“Arts organizations have existed for over 100 years,” states Martin, “and have catered to a small segment of the population. The CSO is strategically aligned to change that fact. We believe that music is for all, and the entire CSO organization will work to ensure we create new experiences for audiences, deepen community belonging, foster cross-sector collaborations, build new relationships with cultural and community organizations, and expand the diversity seen on our stages.”
The CSO’s mission is to seek and share inspiration, and winning this award is proof that their commitment to DE&I initiatives are recognized both within their walls and throughout the community. Music is for all of us, and the CSO’s innovative methods of engagement and audience diversification certainly affirm that.
“The strategic plan adopted by the CSO in 2019 set the wheels in motion for developing strong DE&I strategies and relationships with community leaders,” says Charla Weiss, vice-chair of institutional advancement for the CSO Board of Directors. “The CSO’s commitment to DE&I and sharing music with all Cincinnatians will not waiver. Being a CLIMB Award honoree recognizes that our efforts have made a difference in our city, and we will continue to build upon this work.”