AmTrust Inspired: The Gus Legacy Foundation

Topics: Nonprofit

Gus Giordano, founder of Gus Giordano Dance School, is known as the “godfather of jazz dance.” As a dancer, master teacher, choreographer and author, he dedicated his life to teaching and elevating jazz dance throughout the world.

Amy Giordano, Gus’s daughter and executive director of The Gus Legacy Foundation, describes her father, who passed away in 2008, as an extremely generous man. He opened his dance school in 1953 with Amy’s mother, Peg, to spread his love of dance to the world. Gus spent his entire life teaching, promoting and educating dancers about jazz dance.

“They were very, very supportive of dancers all over the world,” Giordano said. “They had this sense of giving back. That was just the way they were.”

Preserving the Legacy of Gus Giordano

Giordano is trained extensively in all styles of dance – jazz, ballet, modern, tap – and credits both of her parents for her love and dedication to offering the highest quality of dance instruction to all ages, at all levels. She said the Gus Legacy Foundation is changing the lives of children throughout the Chicagoland area, helping them not only enhance their dance skills but build their confidence as well.

“The Gus Legacy Foundation will go into many of the local Chicago public schools, and we offer masterclasses, and we also perform for these children. In the masterclasses, we discover children that are very just naturally interested in dance, and you can see this spark light up in their eyes,” she said.

“It really does change their lives in a very positive way.”

Giordano started the foundation on her father’s birthday, July 10, in 2017 to preserve his legacy and truly pay tribute to him. Gus believed that dance and music is a living art form that should be used as an instrument to impact the physical, emotional and intellectual development of people around the world. In his lifetime, he had personally given numerous scholarships to dancers to train and develop careers in the dance world.

Giordano realized after her father’s passing that continuing the tradition of giving scholarships was her true mission. She needed to create a foundation to continue to honor his legacy and grow. Today, The Gus Legacy Foundation provides equitable access to education, empowerment and exploration of the arts.

This past summer, the Gus Legacy Foundation gave over 50 scholarships to young dancers in the Chicagoland area, along with 25 scholarships to college-age dancers from all over the country. “We are very strong believers that the scholarship recipients are good mentors and role models for the younger students in the building,” Giordano said. “Many of the recipients have taken that training even beyond dance, because these skills are good in any environment to learn how to teach other children.”

She added, “I think that’s a gift that they carry with them for their lifetime.”

Meeting the Unique Needs of Nonprofit Organizations

The Gus Legacy Foundation staff is comprised of Giordano and four others. The team wears many different hats, giving their all to make sure that the dancers have all the opportunities they need. This includes special-ordering costumes and shoes or reaching out to Chicago schools to coordinate classes.

“I couldn’t do it without every single one of them, because they all work as two people,” Giordano said.

As a newer nonprofit, it was important to Ms. Giordano to find an insurance agency and a carrier they could trust. She found a true partner in S. Wolf and Associates, not only because they specialize in the unique needs of nonprofits, but because they provide a sense of comfort and support.

“I knew our partnership with S. Wolf was special right from the start,” she said.

“It’s like having another family member that believes in my mission, and that gives me a sense of calmness that is indescribable. And combined with that sense of family, their expertise and their support give me such peace of mind.”

“They were right by my side, saying ‘let’s get this coverage, let’s put this in place.’”

Although the foundation has not filed any claims with AmTrust yet, Giordano feels comfortable knowing AmTrust also understands their needs based on feedback from S. Wolf and Associates.

“In the course of running a business, you will have a claim. I’m not worried that I won’t have the support I need from AmTrust,” she said.

Inspired by Our Nonprofit and Small Business Insureds

AmTrust is inspired by the hard work and dedication our insured put into living their dreams every day. Our nonprofit insurance provides targeted coverage designed to meet the specific needs of the nonprofit community. Contact us today to learn more.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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