In the 21st century, silence is not golden when it comes to the cultural arts heritage of America.

One could say, “Silence is death,” to the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony and The New York Opera, if what I read is correct in the April 29 edition of the Wall Street Journal. I picked up a copy while traveling this week between speaking in Chicago at the Advisors in Philanthropy (AiP) conference, and attending the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP) board meeting.

If this trend of silent concert halls and dark theater stages continues, we all would be wise to look in our communities to learn of the health and wealth of our beloved cultural organizations. And not only our cultural organizations, but the pulse of the community at large. For culture is the mirror of society and community. Culture is a benchmark for who we are and what we believe. As far back as the Roman Empire it has been documented, “As goes culture and arts, so goes the nation.”

Is this the decade we bottom out and turn the corner to an upward spiral of society’s ethical and moral values? Or will we remain in the valley of discontent? Yes, we live in the fourth season of this history cycle – passing through spring, summer and fall to our winter of discontent. Yes, the sun is setting, but a new Phoenix is rising and a new spirit in America is waiting in the wings.

Philanthropy can lead the way, but only with the collaboration of the non-profit and for-profit sectors acting with one voice for the greater good. Think abundance and it shall appear.