As the development director for the Lawrence Arts Center, Heather Hoy’s daily pursuit is to find funding sources to help fuel the center’s programs so they can meet the growing needs of the Lawrence community.
One program, in particular, was at the front of her mind: a new class that would help boys discover that dancing can be cool.
As the mom of two young boys involved in athletics, Hoy knows that getting boys to take dance classes can be a tough sell, even though research shows that athletes trained in dance perform better at their sport. To help Lawrence’s young male athletes be at the top of their games and discover more about dance, Candi Baker, the dance program director at the Arts Center, was working on a new class concept that incorporated football, basketball and wrestling moves into dance.
All it needed was funding.
Enter Dana Knorr, a marketing and sales professional who had been volunteering at the Arts Center’s front desk.
“We knew with her amazing background in marketing, she had so much more to offer us,” Hoy says.
Hoy was right. She and Knorr put their heads together and came up with a plan to secure funding for the new class, Athletic Movement Training for Boys and Young Men. Knorr volunteered to write a grant request to the Assists Foundation, and was awarded enough from the foundation to pay for development of the class and to offer scholarships for participants.
But she didn’t stop there. Knorr also helped Hoy develop a plan for building a relationship with Knology.
“This resulted in us getting a major media sponsorship and a great year of having commercials for every major event at the Arts Center,” Hoy says. “It was huge, huge for us.”
In January, the Athletic Movement Training for Boys and Young Men class kicked off, with a fleet of boys signing up to learn how to jump higher, leap farther and improve their agility, flexibility and strength. The class has been such a success, they will offer an advanced class this summer.
Hoy was so thrilled by Knorr’s volunteer support that she selected Knorr as the Arts Center’s Volunteer of the Year in direct service, as part of the United Way Roger Hill Volunteer Center’s annual Celebration of Volunteers, held April 17. Knorr was one of more than 65 people and four groups to be applauded during the volunteer recognition event.
Knorr feels like she is the winner, too.
“I really wanted to do something that contributed to the community, but also wanted to grow and learn new skills,” she explains. “I loved the arts and had some background in promotional writing and saw there was a need in the whole nonprofit world for grant writers. This seemed to me like a good continuation of the skills I have developed and the opportunity to learn something new.”