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The Influencers

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The Advisor

Name: Robin Bronk
Age: 51
Current Role: CEO of The Creative Coalition
Affiliations: Arts advocacy

Name: Robin Bronk

Age: 51

Current Role: CEO, The Creative Coalition

Affiliations: Arts advocacy

 

For some of those who make it in Hollywood, the first step on their post-success agenda is finding a way to give back, and Robin Bronk is their go-to advisor. She is on call to guide celebrities in how to become Contributing Citizens.

The names that Bronk works with epitomize Hollywood. From veteran actors Patricia Arquette and Alan Arkin to directors like Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino to hot A-listers like Naomi Watts, Anne Hathaway, Neil Patrick Harris and Demi Moore, stars are using The Creative Coalition to find their own philanthropic voice. 

The Creative Coalition (TCC) follows in the footsteps of previous interest groups, such as the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee and The Show Coalition. TCC got its start in the late '80s when the late actor Ron Silver gathered a small group of creative individuals together in New York, aiming to use the platform of the entertainment industry to speak on and promote social issues relating to arts advocacy.

“That’s how we began and that’s still our mission,” says Robin Bronk, who has served as the executive director and is now the CEO of TCC. “It’s how you support art for art’s sake, and how do the arts support other important social welfare issues.”

TCC’s annual membership fees start at $250, and the membership demographic is diverse, encompassing writers, dancers, agents, casting directors — anyone in the industry wishing to focus attention on issues that matter deeply to them. 

 

“It really is the top-tier level of the arts community and entertainment industry,” says Bronk. 

With membership now standing in the thousands, TCC has fast become a recognized and respected voice in the political sphere. But TCC itself does not attempt to be an ideological group; rather, it is nonpartisan and open to all political persuasions. In some ways this is reflective of the politics of founding member Ron Silver, who died of cancer in 2009. A lifelong Democrat who was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Silver swerved far to the right in the wake of 9/11 and became an ardent supporter of George W. Bush.

“We’re not involved in politics, we’re involved in issues,” says Bronk. “We take on issues, and specifically as an organization, most of our issues are about public funding for the arts, arts and education, things that we think fall within the celebrity comfort zone.”

Despite not being involved in politics directly, Bronk believes that TCC has always been warmly received in the nation’s capital, when any of the group’s members address Congress or state legislatures on advocacy issues. 

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, South-Carolina native Bronk joined TCC in 1998 as the executive director at its New York headquarters. In April 2010, she was appointed the chief executive officer of the organization. Moving to the TCC was a natural progression for Bronk, who had previously been the director of Cause Celebre, a division of APCO Associates Inc., which matched Hollywood's recognized with causes and issues to support. 

“We always enjoy a great relationship with Washington, no matter if it’s Republican or Democratic administrations, because we’re seen as the bridge to the power of Hollywood,” explains Bronk. “The issues that we take on are nonpartisan and we don’t get involved in political campaigns.”

TCC’s most recent venture is a collaboration between Hollywood and military-support charity Blue Star Families to produce a public service announcement for a helpline for military men and women coping with the aftermath of war. Eliza Dushku, Cher and NFL star Terrell Owens are among those who lent their voices in an attempt to address the increasing number of suicides in the military. 

“We never involve anyone where the issue is not organic to them ... it’s got to have some type of organic connection,” explains Bronk. “There has to be an educational process about how one goes back advocating successfully to Congress or state legislatures.”

TCC understands the power of harnessing Hollywood’s platform in D.C. Calling the relationship between Hollywood and D.C. one of “love-hate,” Bronk highlights the importance of the media in understanding the relationship between the entertainment industry and the nation’s political leaders. 

“This whole thing with Hollywood and politics is nothing new at all, it dates back to silent-movie stars getting involved in presidential campaigns,” says Bronk. “There might be more access to it, or more access to seeing it because there’s so much more media covering it.”

And embracing young Hollywood appears to be the key to the future for TCC. Thirteen-year-old actress Ariel Winter of TV's "Modern Family" lends her voice to TCC’s latest military PSA, and "Two and a Half Men" ’s 17-year-old Angus T. Jones has also been actively involved in supporting TCC and Blue Star Families at recent events in D.C.

“I think it’s very important because it’s also good citizenship that one should have their agent, their manager and their give-back to the community,” says Bronk of TCC’s younger members.

The issue of arts education is at the core of TCC’s efforts, and with funding cuts across California schools impacting the arts, the Hollywood community is up in arms.

“We think it’s a travesty and we think that we are shortchanging the generation of children,” says Bronk of the cuts made to arts education. “We know that the arts promote all other skills both on the right and the left side of the brain, and it is one of the best teaching tools for other core subject areas, whether it is math, science or reading.”

As TCC pushes forward with encouraging more of their members to get actively involved in their issues, Bronk explores snippets of this relationship in a blog published in The Hill called “My Five Minutes with the President,” interviewing members of the entertainment industry on what they feel is crucial for President Obama to know.

For Bronk, her five minutes in the Oval Office would be spent on one issue to which she has devoted her career.

“I would bring up the advocacy of the arts, and I would want him to understand the positive economic impact that arts has on communities,”  Bronk says. “We’re in a financial crisis, so let’s nurture something that will be economically solid rather than cutting it out.”

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