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Nonprofit Sector Viability Program Offered to Arts & Culture Nonprofits

by Annie Sutton

The second Nonprofit Sector Viability Session of 2010 will provide senior leaders of ten arts and culture nonprofit organizations in Maine with a structured and supportive environment for thinking deeply about the viability of their mission, programs and finances, and for identifying new options to sustain their organizations and/or missions through collaborative and other means.

This offering will be especially beneficial for executive directors and board leaders who are interested in proactive, creative and adaptive responses to significant shifts in funding and demand for their services in the wake of an economic downturn. Organizations with missions dedicated to arts and culture* are invited to submit an application; schools or colleges are not eligible for consideration. Organizations must have at least one paid staff member.

*Defined as an organization which promotes, presents, produces and/or teaches visual, performing or literary art(s) as its primary purpose.

Participants will walk away from the session with:

• In depth fiscal and programmatic viability analyses

• Greater clarity about their programmatic futures

• Concrete plans for coping with immediate economic challenges

• Options for pursuing collaboration, merger or alliance as means to sustaining mission and increasing intended impacts

• Clear steps for implementation

• Targeted consulting assistance.

The program consists of three components:

1. An introspective 62 question self assessment that engages both board and staff to answer three questions: Are we operating from a position of relative strength or weakness? What kind of financial flexibility do we have? And what are our options for adapting, strengthening and managing in today’s challenging times, particularly our options for collaboration, strategic alliance and merger?

2. A 1 ½ day session, being offered May 18-19 in Augusta or Lewiston, which is designed to lead executive directors and board leaders sequentially from analysis to action planning. Each session strikes a balance between large group and individual engagement and between providing information and engaging participants in analysis or planning. Consultants will play a facilitative and guiding role throughout, particularly during periods of individual engagement, and will be partnered with organizations that match their areas of expertise and experience.

3. Following the session, participants can request up to six hours of complimentary consulting to assist with implementation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

All interested organizations will be asked to submit a short application to be considered for this opportunity. For further information and to request this application, please contact Annie Sutton at Maine Association of Nonprofits at asutton@nonprofitmaine.org. Deadline for applications is April 2nd.

Thanks to generous financial support from the Davis Foundation, Maine Community Foundation’s Expansion Arts Fund, Maine Arts Commission and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as the pro bono work of organizations behind the collaborative, financial assistance will be available to a limited number or participating organizations. The remaining organizations will pay according to their budget size: $250 for organizations with budgets under $500k, $500 for organizations over $500k.

The Nonprofit Sector Viability Collaboration responsible for creating this program includes: Maine Association of Nonprofits, Common Good Ventures, Institute for Civic Leadership, Maine Community Foundation, Maine Health Access Foundation, Maine Network Partners and the United Ways of Greater Portland, York County and Eastern Maine.

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