Final Report of the Strategic Re-Visioning Committee

As presented the the Fund for the Arts Board of Directors on September 22, 2011

The Strategic Re-visioning Committee is an ad hoc committee originally formed in April 2011. It was formed to create a process to consider three key questions:

 1. What is our business? Our Mission and Vision

2. What characteristics will our new leader need to posses? Job Description

3. How do we get from here to there? Our Strategy


The committee members are:
[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]Angela Leet
Ted Nixon
Jenifer Bielstein
Alison Erwin Hansen
Greg Heitzman
[/column]Stephen Klein
Chuck Maisch
Elizabeth Mays
Tom Noland
Sadiqa Reynolds

Our committee has accomplished much.  We have met on April 18th, May 9th, May 20th, July 26th, and September 20th.

Our first team meeting was geared toward resolution about the purpose and focus of our committee and resulted in the above-mentioned Strategic Re-visioning Purpose.

The May meetings were spent discussing and formulating a plan for the data we were interested in collecting through a benchmarking study.  Initially the group discussed releasing a Request for Proposal to find a consultant to conduct the study.  During June, three major activities occurred confirming that it was not necessary to release the RFP, thus allowing us to conduct our work with $0 of expenditures.

The first June activity was the attendance of Angela Leet and Barbara Sexton Smith at the Annual Americans for the Arts Conference. During this time, the 2010 Annual United Arts Fund Statistical Report prepared by the Americans for the Arts was reviewed.  Additionally, attendance at conference sessions was targeted towards topics that would allow comparisons among a variety of cities.

Secondly in June, a community- survey, initially created by Ted Nixon, and enhanced with the assistance of Tom Noland and Rusty Cheuvront, was released.  The survey was posted on the FFTA web site, sent out in Barbara’s weekly e-note, and advertised in Courier-Journal and LEO articles.  Over 700 people participated in the survey and left more than 2,500 comments. The staff at the Fund read and studied every answer. Taking it a step further, the Fund sent the survey results to Paul Schulte of Horizon Research for their pro-bono interpretation expertise. Knowing this was not meant to be a scientific survey, but instead a communication tool, the Fund was interested in what trends could be discerned from the responses.

Horizon’s analysis indicated that four of every five people responding said they were current donors to the Fund who did so primarily because they “like one or more of the organizations they support” and because they truly “believe in the mission” of the Fund for the Arts. Responders as a whole want money to be spent on its cultural partners, art education initiatives and arts promotion. Over half of the respondents said they would be interested in volunteering their time in the Arts.

And lastly in June, Board Chair, Dave Calzi called together a group of top donors with the purpose of listening to what they had to say about Fund for the Arts – past, present and future.  Much of this discussion revolved around shifting the funding paradigm to ensure that the FFTA continues to ensure that art, in all forms, remains a vital segment of our community.

Using the information collected as well as through committee discussions held from April through September 2011 a CEO Job Description was submitted to the CEO Search/Selection Committee.

 In addition to the written job description, the committee has identified the following focus areas for consideration by the Fund for the Arts Board of Directors.

1)    Board Governance: Both national statistics and local input has influenced the committee to recommend the Board of Directors examine and consider its size, structure and diversity to determine what is best for our community. The committee recommends that a retreat, hosted by the Board Chair be the time for this review.

2)    Board Position Descriptions: In addition to reviewing the overarching board size and structure, the committee recommends that position descriptions be clarified and written for all available positions on the board. The committee recommends that a retreat, hosted by the Board Chair be the time for the development of these descriptions.

3)    Mission and Vision: The committee recommends that the board reaffirm the purpose of the Fund for the Arts and once again commit to the mission and vision of the organization. The committee recommends that a retreat, hosted by the Board Chair be the time for this reaffirmation.

4)    Allocations: Information gathered locally leads the committee to recommend that the Board of Directors review the Allocations process including but not limited to, documentation required for submission by grantees, allocation hearing structure, committee size and structure, organizations that could be considered for funding beyond the current Cultural Partners and methods in which to do so. It is the understanding of this committee that a separate committee is already working towards these goals. The Strategic Re-visioning Committee recommends that the Allocations Review Committee recommendations be presented to the Executive Committee for final approval on or before November 30th to allow Fund for the Arts staff to move forward with any revisions in a timely manner.

5)    Communication/Marketing: It is the recommendation of the committee that the Fund for the Arts Board dedicate resources to and develop a solid, transparent marketing plan to better educate the community on what the Fund for the Arts is, who it can and cannot serve and to improve community perception of the organization as a whole.

Concluding Statement

With the blessing of the Full Board, the Strategic Re-visioning Committee will disband from this date in good conscious that the Full Board will carry the above recommendations forward and partner with the permanent President & CEO to move into Phase 2, the development of a 3-5 year strategic plan.

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