2013 TCG Fall Forum on Governance



2013 TCG Fall Forum on Governance: Investing in Vitality
Action Plans and Honest Dialogue to Strengthen Capitalization and Diversity
November 8 –10, 2013

Vitality is: A not-for-profit theatre field thriving through proper capitalization; organizations that have the capacity to invest in artists; programming that is essential to communities; institutions with the resources to adapt to opportunities and weather crises.

Vitality is: A theatre movement committed to advancing inclusion; theatre boards, staffs and stages that reflect the diversity of their communities; artistry that celebrates all our intersections of difference.

How can we invest in these visions of vitality to make them a reality for more of our theatre field? How can we elevate our decades-old discussions of capitalization and diversity to the high-level, action-oriented dialogue necessary for widespread and enduring change? With the most recent edition of Theatre Facts revealing that negative working capital for theatres has doubled in the past five years, these questions gain even greater urgency.

From November 8-10 in New York City at the 2013 Fall Forum on Governance: Investing in Vitality, TCG partnered with Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) to connect attendees with field thought-leaders in capitalization, diversity and organizational change. This intimate gathering of 200 attendees included candid conversations between staff, trustees and funders about the challenges of achieving budget surpluses and maintaining healthy levels of working capital, while also pursuing the most vibrant artistry and community programming possible. Additionally, participants in TCG’s Diversity & Inclusion Institute shared the progress of their diversity action plans, and discussed the obstacles and breakthroughs they’ve encountered.

Learn more about our two areas of focus below. For more information, please contact Devon Berkshire.

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Capitalization: In 2010, GIA undertook a project to better understand the state of capitalization in the not-for-profit arts sector, and partnered with Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) and Technical Development Corp (TDC) to develop a workshop for funders and arts leaders.  Author Susan Nelson offers this definition of capitalization in the subsequent study, “Getting Beyond Breakeven”:

Capitalization is the accumulation and application of resources in support of the achievement of an organization’s mission and goals over time. A well capitalized organization has the ability to access the cash necessary to cover its short- and long- term obligations, to weather downturns in the external operating environment, and to take advantage of opportunities to innovate. All capitalization is represented on the organization’s balance sheet, which encapsulates the record of an organization’s financial performance as net assets and measures the magnitude of its assets and liabilities.

Inspired in part by the positive response to Nelson's National Conference sessions, Investing in Vitality connected attendees with thought leaders in capitalization. There will also be opportunities for candid conversations with peers and funders about the challenges of harnessing the resources necessary to achieve proper capitalization. Whether theatres are dealing with structural deficits, facing cash flow crises, seeking to build working capital or facility reserves, weighing the pros and cons of an endowment drive or recovering from the stresses of a capital campaign; this Fall Forum empowered attendees with short term actions and long term principles to invest in enduring organizational vitality.
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Diversity & Inclusion: Our 2012 Fall Forum on Governance: Leading the Charge made the case for the urgency of achieving greater diversity and inclusion in our theatre field. This led to the kick-off of the multi-year Diversity & Inclusion Institute and the D&I programmatic arc at the 2013 TCG National Conference: Learn Do Teach. Now the rubber has hit the road! Participating Institute theatres have shared their developing action plans, and exchanged bold ideas and creative initiatives for managing diversity and inclusion. For those that are ready to move from talking about diversity to making it happen, this 2013 Fall Forum provided examples of how other theatres are making that change, and connected attendees with a cohort of peers to support them in their own action planning.

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