Case for Change Capital in the Arts

Capital is not Revenue

NFF has published a new series on the need for and uses of capital in the arts. The series of written and video materials conveys stories and lessons learned from NFF’s $15 million Leading for the Future Initiative, the first national Initiative to deploy a specific kind of investment – change capital – to help arts organizations adapt their programming, operations and finances to thrive in a changed and changing economic and cultural landscape.

With support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, ten artistically excellent performing arts nonprofits are working with NFF over five years to develop and implement plans for achieving this transformation. Nearly three years into this exciting Initiative, we now have much to share with the field, both funders and nonprofits alike.

The publications:

The Case for Change Capital in the Arts (view pdf) shares the philosophy governing the Leading for the Future Initiative and discusses the need for and application of change capital in the arts. It also outlines core principles and practices that can improve capitalization in the sector but that will require changes in behavior by both nonprofits and funders alike. The piece tells how each of the participating organizations is applying change capital to undertake meaningful artistic, organizational and financial change.

Financial Reporting Done Right (view pdf) introduces a new way of financial reporting that improves transparency around how organizations manage their capital resources. While conventional accounting and reporting treat capital and revenue in the same way, NFF recommends that nonprofits make straightforward adjustments for capital that better reveal their true operating performance and progress.

Change Capital in Action: Hear how three organizations are applying change capital to realize their artistic and organizational ambitions! Center Theatre Group, National Black Arts Festival and Steppenwolf Theatre Company share their stories in these short videos.

NFF has long advocated for greater access to capital for nonprofits, particularly as they invest in growth or change (Please see our Growth Capital Services resources to learn about the philosophy underlying this initiative). We’re excited to share these real-life examples of change capital in action in the arts.  Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss our perspective and recommendations for improved capitalization the arts, or if you are interested in discussing how these principles can be applied to other nonprofit sectors.

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Kinds of Capital

Working Capital

Risk & Opportunity Capital

Change capital 

Recovery capital 

Facilities & Equipment Capital


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