The Washington Project Executive Summary

1023 Words5 Pages
Several issues were discovered while reviewing several organization's 990 forms as well as news stories. Many, if not all, organizations face challenges fundraising and so reviews of 990s would give an accurate picture into the financials and programs, but what about choices that impact an organization's ability to raise funds? How does a change in management and physical location affect an organization's ability to stay on mission and raise money? Current 990s would not reflect a longitudinal shift that leadership changes can cause in future organizational activities.
One issue considered in this review is how arts-based organizations meet their community-focused missions when they can barely maintain their own physical space in a community?
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This also includes galleries that show the artist's work. Many organizations have missions that promote ‘building community for artists.’ but many have high staff turnover and are unable to build a relationship with a community if they are also priced out of the area.
The Washington Project for the Arts faced both of these challenges with a change in location away from Southwest DC to a brand new location across town. Right around the time of the move, and in the midst of a capital campaign, Lisa Gold, the Executive Director left the organization for a position as Director of Public Engagement at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Several months prior, the Hirshhorn introduced the local art scene to Melissa Chiu, the new Museum Director.
Melissa Chiu has been a high profile focus in the art community having come to the Hirshhorn and promptly moved major fundraising efforts to New York City. She has been a huge success. The Hirshhorn, Smithsonian, is a large organization in many locations and so having fundraising and other museum activities taking place in other cities is not as problematic as a small organization rooted in a community having to
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Leadership change will cause any organization a period of transition, but leadership change will also put different people in different roles in different organizations and thus linking them together more tightly as a new type of community. Advancements and widespread adoption of Internet and social media use is quickly making the world more connected, including economies both financial and artistic. Thus the meaning of community can differ across organizations and geolocations. Does the organization define what ‘community’ means? In today’s global economy, much which drives local economy, does the global economy drive the local economy and therefore the local economy is less ‘stable? Or does this new economy extend the community/constituency reach? Melissa Chiu realized The Hirshhorn’s community is also a global
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