Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Everson Museum of Art hires new executive director from contemporary arts center in Houston

Everson Museum of Art hires new executive director from contemporary arts center in Houston

DiverseWorks - Elizabeth Dunbar
Elizabeth Dunbar has been hired as the new executive director of the Everson Museum of Art. She becomes the art institution's 10th director in its 117-year history. She is expected to assume her duties by January 2015. (Photo courtesy of Frank Sherwood White)
Melinda Johnson | mjohnson@syracuse.comBy Melinda Johnson | 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on October 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM, updated October 23, 2014 at 11:19 AM
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Everson Museum of Art board of trustees has hired Elizabeth Dunbar, executive director of DiverseWorks in Houston, as its new executive director. She is expected to assume her new post by January. Dunbar becomes the 10th director of the museum, succeeding Steven Kern, who resigned in January to become the chief executive officer and director of Newark Museum in New Jersey.
Dunbar was one of two finalists among 75 job applicants in the museum's nationwide search. She visited Syracuse for several days last month.
Dunbar's appointment is the beginning of the "rebirth of the museum," said Gary Grossman, president of the Everson's board of trustees. "She is a stunningly perfect candidate," he said Thursday morning. "She has a strong desire to promote an artistic vision." Grossman described Dunbar as bright, poised experienced and grounded.
He said among Dunbar's priorities will be to understand Everson's collection. "She needs to create a strong fiscal foundation and she needs to build an artistic program of excellence and national reputation."
Dunbar said Thursday morning by phone she was impressed on several fronts with the Everson making it an honor to accept the job leading the art museum. She said she has signed a three-year contract.
"The museum has a national reputation," she said. "It's got a very strong collection especially in the pioneering video art as well as the ceramics collection. The building itself is amazing. But, beyond that, I was so impressed with the board of trustees of the Everson in support of the organization especially over the last year, being without a director for as long as it's been. I could just feel in the community how much this is museum is loved and cherished."
Dunbar has served as executive director of DiverseWorks since 2012. On the DiverseWorks website, it is described as an "alternative art space" for contemporary art that includes visual and performing arts, new media and literary art. Dunbar oversees a staff of four at DiverseWorks that is a non-collecting institution. It commissions artists to create new projects. The arts organization's budget ranges from $750,000 to $900,000.
Dunbar's appointment comes during a rocky period in the 117-year-old museum's history. In mid-April the board passed a balanced budget of $1.7 million after the museum started the year with a projected $700,000 deficit. The board took decisive steps in the face of the museum's financial crises in January. Its immediate action was to cut expenses beginning with the cancellation of two traveling exhibitions, "Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting From Glasgow Museums," scheduled for April 19 to July 13, and "African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era and Beyond," slated for Oct. 18 to Jan. 4, 2015.
In the weeks that followed, the board began a nationwide search for a new museum director, cut back museum hours by closing its galleries a second day. The museum is now open Wednesday through Sunday. Designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, the museum opened in October 1968 at 401 Harrison St. in downtown Syracuse.
Dunbar will oversee as a staff of 16 full-time employees at the museum. The organization has been searching for a director of development after Samara Hannah resigned last month to become managing director at Red House Arts Center. Everson also will fill the curator position.
She needs to create a strong fiscal foundation and she needs to build an artistic program of excellence and national reputation.
The new executive director said the museum's current challenges didn't dissuade her from accepting the leadership position. "Certainly, I have worked in other organizations, DiverseWorks being one of them, where I came in and I knew there were financial challenges to start with."
She believes the outlook for the Everson is "promising."
"Certainly, I have the history of working in organizations involved in balancing budgets and raising money. I think, certainly, that's one of the skills they were looking for in the next executive director. And I intend to put those skills and that experience to work."
Grossman did not disclose details on Dunbar's contract or compensation. But the museum's tax returns for 2012 show Kern's base salary was $155,866. He received an additional $13,415 that included $7,091 for retirement and other deferred compensation; $9,035 payment to assist Kern until his Connecticut home sold and $2,123 membership dues to the Century Club.
Before her leadership position at DiverseWorks, Dunbar was curator and associate director at Arthouse, a contemporary arts center in Austin for four years. Her programming was characterized as "edgy" by Glasstire, an online art website in Texas. Her position was eliminated and budget cutbacks were cited as the reason in news story in the Austin American-Statesmen in April 2011.
Dunbar said she could not comment about her departure from Arthouse because of a confidentiality agreement.
She has held curatorial positions at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo., Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
She described as one of her strengths her vast experience at arts organizations, large and small. "I have very strong background in more historic work, but I can also bring to the table a lot of experience working with more experimental contemporary work. I think being able to balance the two things putting the contemporary within in the context of the historic that gives me a certain perspective on a more comprehensive collection."
Dunbar grew up in California's Bay Area and in Texas. She earned a bachelor's degree in art history and French from Texas Tech University and master's degrees in museum studies and art history from City University of New York, City College, where she focused on 19th and 20th century American and European art. Dunbar is married and has a 5-year old son and a chocolate Labrador retriever puppy.
Everson has 1,536 members and an endowment of $4.6 million. The museum will receive county government support in 2015 for $115,449 in funds from the hotel room occupancy tax and $31,500 this year from the New York State Council on the Arts. A $300,000 fundraising campaign, "Your Museum, Your Everson," was launched in September. An anonymous individual donated $100,000, with a request the museum raise $200,000 more for a total of $300,000. It already has raised $175,000 in donations and pledges. The deadline for the matching challenge grant is Dec. 31. If Everson should fail to meet its target goal, it will still receive the anonymous donation of $100,000.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and Foundation Center Form Strategic Alliance

Having trouble viewing this e-mail? Click here.

Press Release

Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701
Dan Brady
Communications Manager
Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers
(888) 391-3235

Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and
Foundation Center Form Strategic Alliance

Nationwide Partnership Will Expand Access to Data on Philanthropy, Improve Foundation Effectiveness

New York, NY — October 6, 2014. Washington, DC-based Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and New York-based Foundation Center have announced a new partnership to improve the quality and effectiveness of grantmaking through the strategic collection and sharing of data on philanthropy. The Forum is a national network of 34 geographically organized philanthropic associations that together have a membership of more than 5,500 participating organizations, making it the largest network in American philanthropy. Foundation Center is an independent nonprofit that is known as the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide.
"The philanthropic sector talks increasingly about such things as field alignment, strategic collaboration, and leveraging core competencies," said Bradford K. Smith, president of Foundation Center. "This partnership is a golden opportunity to put those principles into action."
The Forum's mission is to leverage the collective knowledge of its association members so that each can be the highest quality provider of philanthropic support services in their regions, while a Foundation Center priority is to empower donors with the knowledge tools they need to be strategic. The partnership will tap the unique strengths of each organization in order to achieve shared goals.
"The Forum Network has both deep regional roots and a broad national reach, and our regional associations' members are key to strengthening connections and knowledge sharing across the giving sector. However, at present, only a handful of our associations has access to up-to-date grantmaking data on their membership, and none have sophisticated online tools that allow the data to be queried and explored in real time," said Michael Litz, president and CEO of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. "Opening these new resources to the Forum Network will be a game-changer for those striving to be more strategic and impactful in their philanthropy."
The partnership will entail establishing platforms and systems for collecting data contributed by Forum members and translating it into knowledge services that will benefit not only the Forum membership, but the broader philanthropic sector. Specific plans include the following:
  • Philanthropy Data: To support a vibrant and effective philanthropic sector, the partnership will launch a "donor data campaign" to encourage members of regional associations to centralize and standardize giving data at Foundation Center. This current data will be accessible to all members through an interactive mapping platform helping to inform funding decisions and track trends in each region.
  • Philanthropy Research: Templates for research reports will be created so that information about regional giving can be more easily and efficiently published and shared, providing regionally focused funders with critical information about funding patterns in their communities.
  • Philanthropy Tools: Data visualization, benchmarking, and knowledge management tools will provide regional associations with continuous access to comprehensive data on the work of their member foundations and empower users to draw actionable conclusions from the information.
In recent years, Foundation Center and individual Forum member associations have partnered on a wide variety of projects, including more than 40 research reports and fact sheets, and Forum members have participated in Foundation Center's Funding Information Network. This partnership is a natural evolution of those preceding collaborations, all of which have in common the goal of spreading knowledge to strengthen philanthropy and the good it can achieve. The national scope of the partnership, however, will introduce efficiencies and broaden its impact.
"Recent advances in information technology have put us in a position to collect and share knowledge far more efficiently than ever before," said Lisa Philp, vice president for strategic philanthropy at Foundation Center. "When this system for data gathering, sharing, and visualization is applied across an entire network of grantmakers, the opportunities for donors to collaborate and achieve their visions of a better world will multiply exponentially."
Share on Twitter: Strategic alliance btwn @givingforum and @fdncenter will improve quality and effectiveness of grantmaking.

About Foundation Center
Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center's website each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit or call(212) 620-4230.
About the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers
Established in 1998, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers is a national philanthropic leader and network of 34 regional associations of grantmakers with a combined membership of more than 5,500 participating organizations. The Forum facilitates effective philanthropy by fueling connections and knowledge sharing across the giving sector, delivering efficiencies and cost savings for our 34 member associations, and providing tools and resources to advance policy change. For more information, please visit or call (888) 391-3235.

Foundation Center • 79 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003 • (212) 620-4230

Meet, Greet, Grin and Adjust - RISK eNew

You may unsubscribe if you no longer wish to receive our emails.
A SOURCE for Tools, Advice, and Training to control risks… so you can focus on your nonprofit’s mission.
October 8, 2014

Meet, Greet, Grin and Adjust

By Melanie Lockwood Herman
After a whirlwind month during which we hosted three, back-to-back risk conferences, life at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center has returned to “normal.” What’s normal? Working with dedicated leaders from a diverse array of mission-directed nonprofits on projects ranging from the development of a cloud application for one client’s 2,800 stakeholder organizations, to performing risk assessments and designing in-person and online training.
During a planning session for one of the workshops we’re delivering later this month, our team began talking about how personality types and communication styles contribute to the success of a meeting. And since we generally don’t know the personalities and styles of the nonprofit staff members who will be attending one of our custom workshops, we need to be prepared for anything. On that topic, Director of Client Solutions Kay Nakamura shared two articles that poke fun at the personalities that too often derail thoughtful agendas and the important goal of engaging everyone around the table. If you’ve ever attended a brainstorming session, you’ve probably met a few of these troubling attendee types.
From the Black Enterprise article, “Top 5 Most Annoying—And Productivity-Stealing—Personalities in a Meeting,” meet Mr. Talk Alot and Ms. Micro-Issue:
·         Mr. Talk Alot: According to writer Janell Hazelwood, what delights this meeting attendee most is “the sound of their own voice.” She adds that Mr. Talk Alot is also the participant most likely to elaborate on points that need no further elaboration or engage in distracting side conversations.
·         Ms. Micro-Issue: This label is assigned to the attendee who cleverly derails the agenda and draws the conversation to a topic that is of great interest and relevance to her, but is arguably off-track and inapplicable to the rest of the group.
From the Fast Company article, “The Top Ten Meeting Personalities,” meet the Multitasker, the Disrupter and the Interrupter:
·         The Multitasker: According to Jackie Yeaney, Chief Marketing Officer of Premier Global Services, “All of us are guilty of multitasking during a meeting. Some of us are better at it than others.” Signs of a multitasker? According to Yeaney, “when asked a question, the Multitasker frequently responds with, “Sorry, I missed that. Could you repeat that?”
·         The Disrupter: Taking a risk by not knowing exactly how a meeting will wind up is half the fun for many people who attend lots and lots of meetings. But there is a downside to the risk as well. Yeaney writes that “Changing the topic or taking people down a side street, the Disrupter can sometimes uncover new thinking or creative ideas. But the Disrupter can also blow up an agenda and make other meeting participants irritable and cranky. You'll know the Disrupter as they often end a sentence with “… but I digress.”
·         The Interrupter: What meeting wouldn’t benefit from a few good ideas? Yes, but, there’s a time and place for every brilliant comment. Yeaney cautions, “When a good idea comes to mind, the Interrupter can't wait to present it to the group. And does … right at that moment! This personality is not inherently bad because hey, it is a GOOD idea. But have caution: combining the Interrupter with distant relatives the Disrupter and the Long-Winded can create meeting anarchy.”

Risk Rescue for Derailed Meetings

Consider the risk tips below to prevent meetings from going off the rails, or to get them back on track when a familiar personality type gets in the way of your plans for a productive and meaningful conversation.
1.    Keep it Timely – A great technique to keep a meeting on track is to adopt and follow a timed agenda. A timed agenda indicates the estimated time that will be devoted to each key discussion topic. It’s a great tool for the meeting minder (the chair or facilitator), particularly when that person (you know who you are!) has a hard time interrupting the attendee who seems determined to hear her voice from start to finish.
2.    Choose the Chair with Care – Sometimes senior leaders in a nonprofit aren’t the best meeting facilitators. That’s ok. If there are critical topics to discuss, consider choosing the best meeting facilitator, instead of the staff member at the highest pay grade. A great meeting leader knows how to gently move the discussion from topic to topic, how to engage the quiet attendees, and how to respectfully get the disrupters and interrupters to stand down.
3.    Keep a Plan B Close at Hand – Meetings go off the rails for any number of reasons, including sabotage by a participant to “stuff happens.” When you fear your agenda is too skimpy for the time allotted, make sure you have a compelling, meaty topic in mind as an add-on. Always ask the group’s permission before going down the new path. If your concern is that the time may be inadequate, make certain you’ve identified one or two topics that can be postponed until the next time the group meets. Again, ask permission to take those topics off the table out of respect for the published end time for the meeting.
4.    Be Flexible – A common mistake is to try to control the discussion and the outcomes. The truth is that the most rewarding workshops and meetings often bring things to light that had been hiding in the darkness for too long. Facilitators who lead scripted and rehearsed brainstorming sessions quickly lose credibility and respect. “Why are we here?” and “This was a waste of my time!” are sentiments you don’t want to hear in the hallway or read on the meeting evaluation form.
The futurists who predicted the demise of in-person meetings and conferences during the Internet age have thus far been proven wrong. Many associations are reporting record attendance at their annual conferences, and we heard over and over again at the Center’s recent risk events that conference and video calls are a poor substitute for face-to-face conversations about controversial and troubling risk topics. Yet even a thoughtful agenda is at risk of spiraling out of control when the usual suspects show up. By considering the risk of a meeting gone wrong before you conduct roll call, you’re in the best possible position to increase the odds that your next meeting, brainstorming session or workshop will be time well spent for all involved.
Melanie Herman is Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Melanie enjoys discussing risk issues against the backdrop of a nonprofit’s mission during custom workshops for Center clients. She welcomes your questions about risk management and the Center’s consulting services and cloud applications. She can be reached at (703) 777-3504 or

Risk Webinars

Fit-to Suit Risk Policies

My Risk Management Policies, Version 2.0 helps you create custom risk policies for your organization in a matter of minutes. Need well-written policies? This cloud app makes policy drafting easy. After completing the quick registration process, search by keywords, categories or peruse an alphabetized list of 150 templates. Each template offers many options to consider. Some of the templates force you to make practical choices. For example, you might prefer an informal style over formal language. Or perhaps you want to strictly prohibit something that other nonprofits allow! With My Risk Management Policies, Version 2.0, custom-fitting policy language to suit your nonprofit is easy and dare we say… fun!
Version 2.0, What’s New?
We’re excited to announce some terrific new features, plus a bold new design. Many of the new features were developed with client feedback in mind. You spoke and we listened!
·         Multiple users, one account — The new version has two levels of users: Account Holder and Added User. This means that two or more staff from one organization can collaborate on the drafting of policies. Want to get your outside counsel involved? No problem! The Account Holder for your nonprofit may grant system access to expert advisors through the “added user” feature.
·         Policy drafting tips — We’ve added policy drafting tips at the top of many templates. This is our chance to offer a few hints from our years of experience drafting and editing risk policies for nonprofits!
·         More policies than ever before — We have added nearly 50 new policy templates and updated many of the templates in the first version, and we’re not stopping there! As always, we welcome your suggestions for new policy types, new policy language, policy options and more. Send your requests to
To begin developing customized Risk Management Policies for your nonprofit, click here.
The one-time licensing fee for My Risk Management Policies is only $179 or just $29 if your nonprofit is an Affiliate Member of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

Pass it On!

If you enjoy reading the Center’s Risk eNews and know others who would as well, please use the Forward email link that appears at the bottom of this issue. The link offers an easy way to share this issue with a colleague. When you use the link your colleague will receive an invitation to subscribe.
© 2014 Nonprofit Risk Management Center

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nonprofit Knowledge Matters

Nonprofit Knowledge Matters banner

Wanted: Courageous Board Members
Stand For Your MissionFor too long, a myth has hung over the nonprofit community like a scary fog:  that nonprofit advocacy is somehow spooky. Nothing could be further from the truth, because advocating for missions is a core part of our sector’s proud legacy. If you eat in smoke-free restaurants, drive safely on divided highways, have a Social Security card, use your civil rights, or are a voting female, then you are benefiting from the past advocacy work of nonprofits – and board members. That’s why we are excited to let you know about a new campaign,Stand For Your Mission, launched to raise awareness - specifically among nonprofit board members - that being an advocate for the nonprofit’s mission is an important role for every board member to play.


The Stand for Your Mission campaign calls on all nonprofit board members to stand up as powerful champions for the missions they serve. The campaign is designed to unleash the full potential of nonprofit organizations to advance their missions in their local communities by engaging board members more directly as advocates on behalf of their organizations.

The goals of the Stand for Your Mission campaign are to:
  • Bring about a sustainable shift in the understanding and expectations around board engagement in advocacy;
  • Move advocacy from an ancillary to a key board leadership role; and
  • Strengthen the nonprofit sector’s ability to advance the public good.

Importantly, this new campaign is not being advanced by ghosts, ghouls, or goblins, but by trusted, mainstream organizations in the nonprofit and grantmaking communities that recognize the need to change the culture around nonprofit advocacy so it is embraced as an effective, everyday tool for advancing nonprofit missions. The National Council of Nonprofits collaborated withBoardSource, the Alliance for Justice (with its Bolder Advocacyinitiative), the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Campion Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to curate a set of core resources for board members, CEOs, and grantmakers. Please share the Stand for Your Mission discussion guide as a useful resource with your board.


Talking about That Which Shall Not Be Named [what it really costs to be a charitable nonprofit]
While we wish we could just wave a wand, magical thinking won’t stop those who rate and rank nonprofits by focusing on the cost of a nonprofit’s operations, rather than its impact in solving community challenges. So what can nonprofits do to shake off this aversion to costs? Remember Harry’s invisibility cloak? Throw it off! Be bold and brave enough to have candid conversations with donors about what it really costs to deliver programs and services.  

Bring financial sustainability closer in 3 easy steps
First, let’s toss out the shape-shifting term “overhead” that means something different to everybody and instead just call all these costs what they are, whether “fundraising,” or rent, or “general administrative.” Second, let’s ignore any apparent incentives to be fuzzy about the full expenses needed to deliver a nonprofit’s services or programs. Instead, by fully embracing our own costs, nonprofits will help manage expectations about what is really needed to solve problems in communities. Third, let’s find the courage to talk about the costs, especially with donors and grantmakers – and document them, demonstrating accountability and candor consistent with a culture of transparency. We think this is the right approach – and we’re inviting you to join us by:“owning your own costs.”

Join us for a Special Webinar to Raise Awareness
About Costs
At the National Council of Nonprofits, we and our State Association network are tackling misconceptions about costs one step at a time. Transparency about costs first requires knowing how much it actually costs to provide services and deliver programs. This means that someone at every nonprofit should be able to properly account for program related costs as well as those costs that cut across all the activities of the nonprofit. We know this can a challenge, so our network is hosting a special program designed to help your nonprofit #OwnYourOwnCosts.

Please join the National Council of Nonprofits and our State Association network for a free webinar about proper cost allocation, so we can all own our own costs and spread the message that all costs, whether for fundraising or administration, or anything else related to advancing our nonprofit’s mission are essential.

Guest speaker: Jeff Russell, founder and CEO of Jitasa
October 23 | 3:30 - 4:30 pm Eastern

Resources for Board Members
Good governance (National Council of Nonprofits)

Board members’ voices count!

More resources about scary stuff

Risk, risk, and more risk – and resources for managing it (National Council of Nonprofits)

Losing tax-exempt status(National Council of Nonprofits)

501h election: A simple way to protect your nonprofit from lobbying missteps (National Council of Nonprofits)

Worth Reading
Is your nonprofit scared of social mediaAespire explains the three myths of social media.

New! The Sustainability Mindset, by Jeanne Bell and Steve Zimmerman

This month’s poll:
Does your board monitor the impact of public policies on your nonprofit's mission delivery and resources?

Tell us in this quick, one-question poll and look for the results in next month's Nonprofit Knowledge Matters.

Share this newsletter with your staff, board, and nonprofit colleagues

Did you receive this email from a friend? Sign up now to receive this free e-newsletter each month.
© Copyright 2014 National Council of Nonprofits. All rights reserved 
1200 New York Avenue, NW | Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20005 |