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Why Businesses Are Still Giving To the Arts

That is the question for firms that support the arts. Why many are sticking to their prerecession pledges

KEN HOWARDŚPACIFIC SYMPHONY

F and M Bank donates an average of $100,000 a year to the Pacific Symphony.

At the "confluence of passion and pragmatism," as one executive puts it, a handful of companies across the U.S. continue to support arts organizations in an economy not given to song and dance. The fine arts have been roughed up by this recession, some fatally, like the Baltimore Opera Company. But enterprises such as Omaha Steaks, Target, AutoZone and Olive Garden--despite struggling themselves--are standing by commitments to keep dance troupes, museums, orchestras and theater groups alive one burger, towel set, windshield wiper and pizza at a time.

It's not an easy choice, particularly for companies in layoff mode. But executives believe...

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