Greetings, WESTAF Trustees:
Really hope everyone had a safe and relaxing long holiday weekend! Here’s a bit of an abbreviated biweekly—let’s get right to it:
EXPANDED ROLE FOR DAVID HOLLAND, DIRECTOR OF IMPACT AND PUBLIC POLICY (CG)
You already heard this big news last week, but in case you missed it, here’s the announcement again! Our colleague David Holland will be assuming a more expansive role at WESTAF, under the newly revised title of director of impact and public policy. In addition to his current portfolio leading WESTAF’s Alliances, Advocacy and Public Policy (AAP) department and serving as an advisor to the Creative Vitality Suite team, he will also be responsible for the design, development, resourcing, implementation and maintenance of the complete WESTAF program portfolio (AAP & SRI), including leadership of new programs and initiatives, strategies to maximize synergies among program areas to drive impact, and program evaluation and reporting. David will also supervise the work of the incoming director of social responsibility and inclusion (SRI). In this capacity, David will work in close collaboration with this team leader to build and execute WESTAF programs and services that proactively advance equity by supporting BIPOC leaders, rural leaders, and organizations serving underserved and under resourced communities in the West. David’s deep knowledge and experience in all of this work coupled with his management skills as well as his thoughtful ongoing supervision of the SRI team during this time of transition will make WESTAF even more effective as we move into the future serving the people, the organizations and the places in our western states and beyond. Congratulations, David!
WESTAF ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SRI DIRECTOR POSITION UNTIL THE END OF THE DAY (DH)
WESTAF is accepting applications for the Director or Social Responsibility and Inclusion position until the end of the day on November 30, 2020. The candidate review committee has now been organized and a shortlist of first-round candidates will be established by the end of the week.
WESTAF CONTRIBUTES TO FORMULATION OF CULTURAL ADVOCACY GROUP POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO BIDEN-HARRIS TRANSITION TEAM (DH)
The Cultural Advocacy Group has drafted “The Arts and Cultural Sector: Federal Policy Actions,” a set of policy recommendations for the Biden-Harris administration and members of Congress to take in the short and medium term to address the current challenges facing the sector and to amplify its contributions to American life. This document will be released to the field for endorsements in the coming weeks. As a first step, CAG is meeting with the Biden-Harris Transition Team on Monday, November 30 to discuss the incoming Administration’s priorities and the immediate arts and cultural policy agenda recommended by the group.
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION (AH, CG)
Last week, the staff received a second survey on the efficacy and appetite of moving to a permanent remote working culture. A key question posed a scale of 1 to 10 (1 not wanting to continue working virtually and 10 would love to continue working virtually), and that question yielded an 8.1. Christian, Becca and Amy are continuing to research the impacts of this possibility. To help staff most effectively deal with internal conflict, Becca is planning an online training for the staff through the Employers Council in December or January. This should help WESTAF establish a helpful internal policy regarding the best steps to take and the resources available to address conflict. Amy attended a webinar on Catalytic Fundraising presented by the DeVos Institute for Arts Management and found the information about how the arts sector is responding to the pandemic to be particularly interesting. The team is working through the Insights feedback tool with the goal to have all team members on the system by the first week of December. The practice of identifying responsibilities and goals has been a helpful process!
FINANCIAL UPDATE (AH)
October financials were presented to the Executive Committee on November 23rd. Overall, the financial picture is positive after the first month of the fiscal year. WESTAF’s cash position remains strong with a healthy cash surplus at the end of the fiscal year despite a budget with a net negative at year-end. Please find the details within these documents and let Amy know if you have any questions.
- October cash summary (a snapshot of WESTAF’s cash flow activity as of Oct 31st)
- October finance memo (that accompanies the cash summary)
- November cash projections (the staff’s best estimation of where we will end up at year-end)
FUNDRAISING NEXT STEPS (CG)
Our fundraising strategist Beka Whitson has concluded her fundraising analysis of WESTAF and has put forward her list of recommendations, which included a roadmap on how best to approach this work through 2021 and beyond, as well as a strong initial target list of potential foundation funders. The current priority for us is to get a proposal into the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust, and then to approach the working list. We have a modest $200K goal for FY21.
HEWLETT FOUNDATION INVITES WESTAF TO SUBMIT PROPOSAL FOR STRATEGY CONSULTING ASSIGNMENT (DH)
The Performing Arts team at the Hewlett Foundation has invited WESTAF to submit a proposal to undertake a strategy consulting project that will define a systems approach for their work in the field. We are currently in conversations with firms about a collaborative bid but may also apply independently.
SOUTH ARTS EMERGING LEADERS OF COLOR PROGRAM SESSIONS (MS)
The South Arts ELC sessions begin this Thursday, December 3 and runs through Thursday, December 9. In recent weeks, Salvador Acevedo, Margie Reese, Ethan Meserre of South Arts, Madalena, and David have been meeting to complete the final details before the sessions begin. The program has been reimagined for online delivery and features a range of exciting talks, social gatherings, a talent show, some gamification, and a range of other elements to facilitate the session being personal, impactful, and engaging for the 12 participants.
CATALYTIC FUNDRAISING IN THE PANDEMIC ERA WEBINAR (CG)
As Amy mentioned above, we attended a webinar about fundraising during and after the pandemic. In addition to its immense human and social toll, the pandemic and its impacts have placed extreme pressure on the finances of many nonprofit organizations worldwide. Amongst the most consternating questions is whether, when, and how to mount or re-start a significant fundraising campaign. The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, a global leader in fundraising and capital campaigns, provided this one-day intensive to address key questions and provide practical strategy for managing revenue development campaigns under today’s extraordinary circumstances. This intensive addressed pillars of any “catalytic” fundraising campaign, while providing specific guidance on planning, mounting, and completing a variety of campaigns in the pandemic era, including short-term, bridge-gap campaigns; campaigns for the development, renovation, or expansion of physical infrastructure; or campaigns for the development of endowments, working reserves, or program funds.
STRATEGIC PLAN (NS)
Happy Thanksgiving from the cohorts! As this is a short week for most, the cohorts will be reviewing their current initiatives with plans to reconvene after the holiday.
BUSINESS (CV and Business Colleagues)
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us in business! We’re doing a condensed version of our regular update this time around since it’s a short, holiday week. Happy to report that we’ve successfully transitioned our phone system over to Zoom Phone Now, all staff have direct numbers and a way to make and receive calls via the Zoom app on their computers and/or phones. You can also call the main line at 303.629.1166, and Janae will answer and route callers to the appropriate destinations. In CaFE, we’re working to complete our integration with Braintree, so that, like ZAPP, artist payments will be handled by Braintree instead of PayPal. In CVSuite, we’re working on transitioning the user guide to a WordPress site, and Trevor is working on a data update slated for mid-December. The data update is challenging because of backend national taxonomy changes of NAICS and SOC codes and an Emsi API change. In GO Smart, Jessica is updating resources for the Media tools enhancement that launched last week, and she’s working on renewals for the six clients whose subscriptions expire at the end of this calendar year. In PAA, Lori is in the final stages of completion of the import of Dallas’ public art collection, which can be viewed here. This is a collection of over 260 artworks that were imported manually so that the backlog of high priority tech can be completed. Finally, in ZAPP, we’re continuing to work on drafting and finalizing content for a new sales site. Natalie V. also connected a new demo request form to Zoho so that incoming leads are automatically entered into Zoho and sent an email.