Arts and culture play an integral role in supporting communities. For many arts organizations, however, access to the funding, financing, and financial management resources necessary to sustain programming can be difficult to secure. That’s why, since 2009, the MacArthur Arts and Culture Loan Fund (ACLF) has helped small- and medium-sized arts and culture organizations in Chicago to manage uneven cash flows and strengthen financial capacity. Administered by IFF since 2016 in partnership with BDO, the program has provided dozens of organizations the opportunity to access an operating line of credit, as well as financial management workshops, customized coaching, technical assistance on financial projects, and assistance incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into their operations.
Hear from several ACLF participants about what they took away from the experience, including one— Experimental Sound Studio—that reflected on operationalizing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices within the arts sector:
Debra Kerr · President and CEO, Intuit
Reimagining What a Modern Museum Can Be
“We’ve participated in the training series twice. The first time was before the pandemic, around when we refinanced with IFF. More recently, a new set of Intuit staff members took the course. Like many nonprofit professionals, they didn’t formally study accounting, and they now have a shared and more thorough understanding of how nonprofit finance works.
The team has applied what they learned to communicate our financial picture to the board, as well. One of our perennial challenges is helping board members grasp the vagaries of nonprofit accounting. The training and one-on-one coaching we received from BDO armed the team with excellent tools that we can use: graphs, pie charts, and slides.”Read Story
Joanna Furnans · Executive Director, Chicago Dancemakers Forum
Supporting a Broad Range of Chicago’s Dance Artists
“One thing that stands out was an informative discussion about calculating the true cost of programs. It was huge for the BDO team and program participants to acknowledge that nonprofit arts organizations have been underestimating and underreporting how much it truly costs to do the work that we do.
If we only report the programmatic costs, and don’t include general operating and administrative costs like our internet service, insurance policies, payroll fees, development activities, and staff salaries, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. We can’t address issues like pay equity if we continue to uphold the pervasive but unsustainable expectation for arts and culture nonprofits to just scrape by.”Read Story
Olivia Junell, Co-Director and Nancy Harris, Founder and CEO · Experimental Sound Studio and Restart Consulting
Organizational Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Must Begin with Intentionality
“We went in thinking we will define diversity, equity and inclusion for Experimental Sound Studio. Week after week, it became apparent that this was a constant conversation about our DEI definition and how we implement those values successfully within our organization.
If we are really going to be serious about DEI as an integral part to our operations in arts nonprofits, then we have to start treating it like we do the books and fundraising and all of these other components that we know are essential and that we regularly call experts in as part of our practice.”Read Story