The Action Heroes of STREB defy gravity and soar through space; they flip, tumble, leap, and sometimes fly. The dancers give life to the work of Elizabeth Streb, a choreographer, and MacArthur “Genius” who has broken the boundaries of traditional dance for over 40 years, fusing dance, sports, gymnastics, and the American circus. With its customized equipment and culture of constant invention, the art of STREB can’t happen without an organization undergirding it, a nonprofit business that faces the same challenges of any business: marketing, earning revenues and managing expenses, planning for future growth, and launching new projects.
FJC recently closed a $250,000 bridge loan to STREB, which required a sensitivity to the particular business challenges facing this unique nonprofit. While more traditional lenders might have secured real estate or hard assets as collateral, FJC looked to government contract receivables and contracts on future commissions. As with other loans from FJC’s Agency Loan Fund, the source of capital for this loan comes from pooled Donor Advised Fund accounts that have been allocated to a nonprofit loan fund as an impact investing vehicle.
FJC’s loan will, in part, bridge proceeds from a commission that will return STREB to Australia for the first time in 24 years. STREB’s outdoor festival performances in Australia will feature large pieces of equipment: a gleaming aluminum 21-foot turning ladder, a human-sized hamster wheel, a machine that revolves dancers like blades of a windmill, and an Olympic-sized trampoline. Mounting performances with so many (literal) moving parts is hugely cost-intensive, and a bridge loan from FJC fills the gap between when the work happens and when the organization gets paid.
STREB serves diverse audiences through performances and educational programs that provide access to, and participation in, “Extreme Action,” Streb’s signature movement style that thrills audiences with choreographed feats of physicality. In a typical year, nearly 10,000 people come to SLAM, including 5,000 audience members at nearly 40 shows; 800 students at over 60 weekly classes; 3,000 school children and community organization constituents; 200 artists who rent SLAM to create and present work, teach and take a class; and 850 children, tweens and teens who attend ACTION CLUBS and summer camp.
“We are grateful to have a longstanding relationship with FJC,” says STREB founder Elizabeth Streb. “We are an organization that prizes speed, agility, and nimbleness, and we appreciate it all the more when we can find these qualities in our financial partners.”