Sustaining a Vibrant Seattle Arts Institution
“As a direct result of the MPO Initiative, we are 100% debtfree, we have signiﬁcant operating and building reserve funds, we have a long-term strategy for the management of our facility, and we have developed a culture that allows us to think proactively about investments in our artistic activities. We gained a tremendous amount through the NFF technical support; in particular the systems replacement plan, the program proﬁtability, and the tailored dashboard are tools that have changed and are changing our base practices. It is not an exaggeration to say that the MPO Initiative allowed us to move from an organization that was struggling to exist to one that is healthy, stable, and has the capacity to implement our artistic mission.”Sarah Wilke, Managing Director
On the Boards (OtB) is recognized as a leader in contemporary performance. As with so many nonprofits that expand, growing pains were inevitable. In 1998, a wonderful performance space was for sale, and OtB found the support to purchase and renovate it. Though their audiences loved it, revenue couldn't cover the increased expenses of the new facility.
Through OtB's participation in NFF's Mid-Sized Presenting Organizations Initiative, they were able to make vital financial improvements to better carry out their mission, including:
- Establish a $250,000 cash reserve and a $100,000 building fund Retired all long-term liabilities, more than $121,000.
- Meet the terms of and received a $250,000 challenge grant from a local foundation to establish an endowment. Created and began implementation of a full Systems Replacement Plan to care for and fund their building and equipment.
- Develop new initiatives and tools for programming and administration of their organization, including OtB.tv, an innovative on-demand online broadcast of On the Boards performances, and the Organization Dashboard, a snapshot to gauge the health of all parts of the company—from ﬁnancial performance to audience satisfaction to artistic achievement—which is used by Board and staff as a touchstone for all planning.
- Strengthen their balance sheet and their liquidity significantly, allowing more flexibility for their future operations.
After completing their work with NFF in the DDCF-funded MPO Initiative, OtB is now in a strong ﬁnancial position, able to support their building costs, and to provide the Seattle community with outstanding arts programming for years to come. Read our full case study of OtB!