Steve's blog

3 Cities Make Affordable Housing Plays to Hold on to Artists

From Alexis Stephens at Nextcity:

When the root causes of gentrification are being discussed, artists and arts groups often get caught in the cross fire. But while the arrival of sculptors, mixed-media painters and the like may foreshadow rising rents, there are many artists who struggle to afford city life. Across the country this week, several cities took steps to ease that struggle. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio used his State of the City address on Tuesday to highlight his plan to create 1,500 new units of affordable housing for artists by 2024.
Penn Report: More Culture Than Donors Will Support

From Peter Dobrin, writing for The Inquirer:

A new William Penn Foundation-commissioned study paints a portrait of the Philadelphia arts scene as rife with both promise and peril. The report, which examines more than 160 groups, says some are coming up with innovative ways to adjust to changing demographics and ticket-buying patterns, but it also finds that 70 percent are in poor financial health, undercapitalized, and unable to withstand financial stress or to fund new ideas. And while there is a promising new generation of philanthropists in the area, they have not been persuaded by arts groups to loosen their purse strings.
New Report Studies Philadelphia’s Arts and Culture Sector

Capitalization, Scale, and Investment: Does Growth Equal Gain? is a report from TDC, with support from the William Penn Foundation, that was presented at the GIA 2014 Conference by Susan Nelson, a primary author. The first part of the report analyzes date from the Cultural Data Project to take the temperature of the Philadelphia arts ecosystem in order to see how organizations fared over the five year period of 2007 to 2011. The second section of the report explores how to navigate the question of growth for an individual organization. To invest in growth that will contribute to sustainability, TDC contends that organizations and their supporters need to challenge their core assumptions and be relentlessly honest about their goals, what kind of investment it will take to actually achieve those goals, and whether the goals are achievable.

Reconstructing Philanthropy from the Outside In

By Paul Shoemaker, writing for Stanford Social Innovation Review:

The Empire State Building is one of the seven modern wonders of the world. Yet when it was built, the most revolutionary aspect wasn’t its architecture or the height. The less-acclaimed, quantum leap was in the construction practices that the contractor, Starrett Brothers and Eken, used. Never before had a building been constructed in that way or as quickly. In philanthropy today, we are doing some good “architectural” work in emergent philanthropy, networks, and collective impact, to name a few.
Roberta Uno Stepping Down at Ford Foundation

From Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation:

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to share wonderful news regarding our extraordinary colleague Roberta Uno. In a continuation of the issues that she has worked on during her time at the Ford Foundation, Roberta will become the Director of Arts in a Changing America, a new national project engaging changing demographics through the lens of aesthetics, arts practice, cultural equity, and social justice which will be based at the California Institute of the Arts.

Tremaine Foundation, Herberger Institute Release Report on Arts Business Training

A new report from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation examines how business training being delivered to artists across the U.S. and leverages research conducted in the inaugural year of the Tremaine Foundation Fellowship in Arts Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University. “How It’s Being Done: Arts Business Training in the US” seeks to move beyond identifying the programs and organizations that are providing business training specific to the arts. The research also explores how training is being delivered, and where there are gaps.

Future of the San Diego Foundation’s Arts Funding Questioned

By Kinsee Morlan at San Diego City Beat:

There’s a shortage of arts-and-culture funding in San Diego. That’s why there’s been shock and concern in the arts community after the recent announcement that Felicia Shaw, longtime director of arts and the creative economy at The San Diego Foundation, had left her position. The foundation is the biggest and most influential grant-making community foundation in the area, and critics say that Shaw’s departure signals the organization’s waning support for the arts.
Opera Philadelphia Has Bold New Business Model

From Francis Hilario at The Philadelphia Business Journal:

Opera Philadelphia is in the midst of rehearsing for the East Coast premiere of “Oscar,” a new American opera based on Oscar Wilde that’s set to debut in February. But the company is also in the midst of a changing business model. The upcoming “Oscar” is the first of two productions co-commissioned by Sante Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia as part of the latter’s American Repertoire Program. The program has the lofty goal of producing one new American opera for the next 10 seasons. The second commission, an opera based on Charles Frazier’s “Cold Mountain,” will premiere next year. Along with providing audiences with fresh material, the opera’s new American program has also allowed it to go from being a local company to one that’s global.
Governance Lessons from the SD Opera: Culture, Transparency and Bravery

From Eileen Cunniffe, writing for Nonprofit Quarterly:

This weekend, the San Diego Opera will open its 50th anniversary season — a season that came perilously close to being cancelled when the company’s board voted last March to cease operations at the end of the 2014 season. Nearly ten months after the company and its board began a highly public meltdown, followed by a hard-won battle to re-engage the community and restructure the organization, San Diego Opera was featured at the 11th annual Nonprofit Governance Symposium at the University of San Diego on January 10. In a panel discussion titled “Saving the Opera: Lessons Learned from a Board Perspective,” current board president Carol Lazier, board members Linda Spuck and Joe Watkins, and new CEO Keith Fisher shared insights from the wild roller coaster ride they’ve experienced since last spring.
Nonprofits Win Key Victory in Overhead Battles With Government

From Tim Delaney at The Chronicle of Philanthropy:

Rather than focusing on what Congress will (or won’t) do in the new year, foundations and other nonprofits would do well to take a close look at a little-noticed overhaul of federal grant-making rules — in the works for three years and that took effect the day after Christmas — that could provide meaningful traction for ending the so-called nonprofit starvation cycle.