Bruce Burtch is a philanthropist and award-winning pioneer in the field of cause marketing who’s credited with coining the phrase, “do well by doing good.” A long-time supporter of DrawBridge and active member of the advisory council, Bruce regularly contributes his creative vision and depth of non-profit experience to our organization.
Bruce is also a fine art photographer whose “sumptuous” work (Pacific Sun) displays “stunning expressions of light and shadows, mood and serenity” (Mill Valley Arts Commission).
This summer, Bruce is combining his love of photography with his passion for bringing free arts programs to children who are underserved or experiencing homelessness, by presenting an extensive exhibition of his photographs through August 31 at Aroma Cafe in San Rafael. Bruce will donate 50% of proceeds from the show to DrawBridge.
We recently spoke with Bruce about his long history of philanthropy and photography.
Bruce, how has your long history with DrawBridge unfolded?
I went to a show at the Falkirk Mansion in San Rafael and was intrigue by these cards and paintings done by children from the DrawBridge program. They were really creative and fun. After contacting the executive director, I was invited to visit one of the programs in Marin’s canal district and just had a blast hanging out with the kids. I loved the energy, and the fact that it wasn’t art “training” but simply allowed them an opportunity for pure expression.
In 2015, I produce an art, music and film festival called “San Rafael Rocks” to benefit DrawBridge. Since then, I’ve been involved with the organization whenever they needed me. I believe very strongly in the mission.
When did you become interested in photography?
I started carrying an old film camera around in college and have had one with me ever since. For the past 35 years I’ve been part of a group called the Four Photo Friends. We’ve travelled to the Everglades, Death Valley, and many other locations together over the years. Out of that have come four photography books. In fact, we’re working on a new one right now!
You’re credited with being a pioneer in the field of “cause marketing.” What is it and how does the community benefit?
Cause marketing is when participants from the for-profit and/or public sectors partner with a non-profit to produce results for the greater good. These kinds of partnerships benefit everyone involved. I first developed the idea in 1975 while working for the Marriott corporation. Later, I wrote a book called “Win-Win for the Greater Good.” Anyone who’d like a step-by-step guide to building these kinds of partnerships can download it for free from my website.
What opportunities do you see emerging for partnerships between non-profit and for-profit organizations?
Corporations have realized, and extensive research has proven, that customers prefer to buy products from companies associated with a cause they believe in. If you’re a sales manager at a consumer products company and see stats like, “89% of moms prefer to buy products associated with a cause,” you wanna get your company aligned with a cause right away.
Visit Bruce’s photography show through August at Aroma Cafe, 1122 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901.