The REP: Re-Defining Non-Profit Excellence

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For over 20 years, the Orlando Sentinel has selected 100 companies right here in Central Florida who are working hard to make their businesses great places to work. Our business community keeps our region thriving, and its recognition programs like the Top 100 that are so important in acknowledging the efforts of our local companies who provide our residents with jobs and opportunity. The Top 100 are rigorously evaluated on qualities such as workplace flexibility, company leadership, career opportunities, community service, compensation and benefits – areas that contribute to overall business success.

Some may be surprised to find a nonprofit, arts organization on the list. There’s a misconception that nonprofit organizations can’t be well-run, and that the arts can’t be viable businesses. As Board Chair for The REP I’m proud to say that our designation as one of the Top 100 Companies this year flies in the face of that very misconception and proves something we’ve known to be true for years: “nonprofit” is just a tax status, and that the arts can run healthy, impactful businesses all while benefitting our community.

The arts are of vital importance: they educate children, they provide creative outlets for the thousands of artists that live and work here, they inspire our residents, and they enrich the very fabric of our community. The arts have an economic impact that’s not to be discounted, either: Americans for the Arts’ Arts and Economic Prosperity IV Survey indicated that in Orlando alone, the arts and cultural industry has economic impact of over $77M annually. In the broader region, that number soars to nearly $200M, supporting nearly 9,000 FTE jobs.

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The REP has been a part of our community since its first iteration in 1926 as the Orlando Little Players. Our organization has weathered wars, economic recessions, and Orlando’s dramatic shift from Citrus Town to bustling metropolis. Each year, 40,000 schoolchildren visit The REP on a field trip to see a performance of a professional piece of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) – at the only full-time, professional TYA in the State.

Other TYA theatres across the country look to The REP’s programming and curatorial choices for inspiration and best practices. Our dedication to quality has resulted in a nationwide reputation, leading to production opportunities, interstate partnerships, and national programming collaborations. Our patrons are young, and we believe that makes our work all the more important. Thank you, Orlando Sentinel, for recognizing that the arts are alive and well at The REP and in Central Florida.

Brian Avery

CEO, Frontline Event Services
Chair, Board of Directors, Orlando Repertory Theatre