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AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS INC Organization Name provided in the GuideStar Exchange* as of 07/08/2014: AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS INC

Organization Name as listed in the IRS Business Master File as of 06/09/2014: AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS INC

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AKA  Americans for the Arts
Washington, DC
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&1002; Registered with IRS Legitimacy information is available
&1002; Evidence of Impact Expert Assessment and Reviews available
&1002; Financial Data Annual Revenue and Expense data reported
&1002; Forms 990 2012, 2011, and 2011 Forms 990 filed with the IRS
&1002; Mission Objectives Mission Statement is available
&1002; Impact Summary Impact Summary from the nonprofit and Charting Impact Report are available
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Basic Organization Information

AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS INC Organization Name provided in the GuideStar Exchange* as of 07/08/2014: AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS INC

Organization Name as listed in the IRS Business Master File as of 06/09/2014: AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS INC

* The GuideStar Exchange allows nonprofits to regularly update key information directly to GuideStar. It provides richer and broader information about their programs, impact, finances, people and more.
Also Known As: Americans for the Arts
Physical Address: Washington, DC 20005 
EIN: 52-1996467
Web URL: www.AmericansForTheArts.org 
Blog URL: blog.artsusa.org/ 
NTEE Category: A Arts, Culture, and Humanities
A01 Alliance/Advocacy Organizations
A Arts, Culture, and Humanities
A05 Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis
A Arts, Culture, and Humanities
A90 Arts Service Activities/Organizations
Ruling Year: 1997 


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Mission Statement

Americans for the Arts' mission is to serve, advance, and lead the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America.

Legitimacy Information

This organization is registered with the IRS.

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Annual Revenue & Expenses (GuideStar Exchange,
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Fiscal Year Starting: January 1, 2012
Fiscal Year Ending: December 31, 2012

Total Revenue $11,140,795
Total Expenses $11,790,315

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Fiscal Year Starting: January 1, 2012
Fiscal Year Ending: December 31, 2012

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Mr. Robert Lynch

Profile:

Robert L. Lynch is the president and CEO of Americans for the Arts where he has worked since its inception in 1996. He was executive director of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies for 12 years, and managed the successful merger of that organization with the American Council for the Arts to form Americans for the Arts. In his 30th year of work for the arts industry, Bob is motivated by his personal mission to empower communities and leaders to advance arts and arts appreciation in society. He has presented more than 1,000 speeches and workshops in 49 states and 8 countries, for audiences ranging from Native American tribal gatherings to the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe to the President of the United States. Lynch currently serves on the boards of the Independent Sector, the Arts Extension Institute, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Humanities and Fine Arts Dean’s Council. He has recently been reappointed to another term on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In August 2012 and 2013, he was selected as one of the most influential executives in the nonprofit sector for the NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50, and in January 2014 he was awarded the Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of the Performing Arts. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. Lynch plays the piano, mandolin, and guitar, and lives in Washington, D.C.

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?

Board Orientation & Education ?
Why does this matter? Without clarity around their responsibilities and expectations, board members are not positioned to succeed. They may find themselves challenged to fulfill their governance responsibilities or frustrated by the expectations that the organization has set for them. BoardSource recommends that every new board member participate in a formal orientation process, and that all board members sign a pledge or agreement committing to their board service and to all of the responsibilities and expectations that come with service. Ideally, board members also should participate in a formal governance training program prior to serving on a board.

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?
Yes
CEO Oversight ?
Why does this matter? Oversight and management of the chief executive is one of the board’s most important legal responsibilities. The CEO or executive director is the board's single employee, and - just like any other employer/employee relationship - regular and written assessment is critical to ensuring that the chief executive and board are communicating openly about goals and performance. BoardSource recommends that boards conduct formal, written reviews of their chief executives on an annual basis, which should include an in-person discussion with the chief executive and distribution of the written evaluation to the full board.

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?
Yes
Ethics & Transparency ?
Why does this matter? A commitment to handling conflicts of interests is essential to creating an organizational culture of transparency. Boards should create and follow a policy for identifying and handling conflicts of interest, whether real or perceived. BoardSource recommends that organizations review the conflict-of-interest statement and require signed disclosures from all board members and senior staff on an annual basis.

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements within the past year?
Yes
Board Composition ?
Why does this matter? The best boards are composed of individuals who bring a variety of skills, perspectives, backgrounds, and resources to tackle the complex and strategic challenges confronting their organizations. BoardSource recommends that boards commit to diversity and inclusion by establishing written policies and practices, which include strategic and intentional recruitment of diverse board members, continual commitment to inclusivity, and equal access to board leadership opportunities.

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?
Yes
Board Performance ?
Why does this matter? Boards need to regularly assess their own performance. Doing so ensures that they are being intentional about how they govern their organization, which is a critical component of effective board leadership. BoardSource recommends that a board conduct a self-assessment of its performance a minimum of once every three years to ensure that it is staying on track with its roles and responsibilities.

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?
No

Officers for Fiscal Year (IRS Form 990)

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Highest Paid Employees & Their Compensation (IRS Form 990)

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Programs

Program: ADVOCACY (GuideStar Exchange,
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Budget:
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Program Description:

Americans for the Arts advocates for greater public and private support for the arts and arts education at the national level, while providing tools and training to people nationwide so that they can make the case for investment in their communities. Our aim is to trigger local, state, and federal leaders to see and understand the arts as a solution to the problems we face as a nation. The Legislative Issue Center presents an overview of Americans for the Arts’ advocacy efforts, and provides our constituents with the tools to advocate for the arts in their own communities through the following information and services: E-advocacy through VoterVoice; issue briefs; legislative news and updates; useful research; information on advocacy events and registrations; links to State Arts Action Network members; and toolkits for individuals and organizations. Arts Advocacy Day brings together a broad cross section of America's cultural and civic organizations, along with nearly 500 grassroots advocates representing 45 states across the country, to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts.

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Program: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (GuideStar Exchange,
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Budget:
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Category:
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Population Served:
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Program Description:

Americans for the Arts technical assistance and training programs serve a wide array of arts professional based on where they are in their careers, the types of communities that they serve, targeted sectors within the field, and services that cross all three. Six (6) networks allow Americans for the Arts to provide specialized resources addressing the needs of its constituencies and ensure peer-to-peer engagement. These affinity networks include the: Public Art Network, Private Sector Network, Arts Education Network, Emerging Leaders Network, United States Urban Arts Federation, and State Arts Action Network. Two (2) main conferences offer training and networking opportunities to professionals in the field. Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention convenes the largest gathering of arts and community leaders in the country to explore critical issues in the arts, and the annual National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference provides information, tools, and practical ideas for arts marketers and fundraisers to design high-quality, cost-effective marketing programs and strengthen arts organizations. The National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) provides nonprofit marketing training through its annual conference, monthly webinars, quarterly E-books, regional training programs, and on-site workshops that offer must-have marketing resources to local constituencies. Americans for the Arts also offers a series of webinars, high quality online professional development tools that are held regularly to provide online training resources for professional members.

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Program: RESEARCH & INFORMATION (GuideStar Exchange,
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Budget:
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Category:
None
Population Served:
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Program Description:

Americans for the Arts champions a research-based understanding to how the arts are being used to address social, educational, and economic development issues in communities across the country. Ongoing initiatives include: Arts and Economic Prosperity, the national economic impact study on the nation’s nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences; The National Arts Index, a highly distilled annual measure of the health and vitality of the arts in the United States using 76 equal weighted, national-level indicators of arts activity; The Local Arts Index - a companion to The National Arts Index - which is designed to give communities across the nation a much needed tool to analyze the macro and micro trends impacting the health and vitality of local cultural organizations over time and to inform the collaborative work necessary to chart a course for a more sustainable future; Creative Industries, which uses Dun & Bradstreet data to map and report the number of arts-related businesses and employees in any geographic region or political jurisdiction in the country.

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Program: RECOGNITION & VISIBILITY (GuideStar Exchange,
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Budget:
--
Category:
None
Population Served:
General Public/Unspecified
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Program Description:

Through its national network and array of public and private sector partners, Americans for the Arts works to shine a spotlight on the contributions of the arts and arts education. Signature programs include: National Arts Awards, held during National Arts and Humanities Month, hosts 400 of America's top artists and philanthropic and corporate leaders to recognize and celebrate the achievements of individuals and corporations who have exhibited outstanding leadership in the visual and performing arts, arts education, advocacy, and philanthropy; THE BCA TEN: Best Companies Supporting the Arts in America is an annual gala that recognizes the corporate leaders who are dedicated to increasing partnerships between the private sector and the arts; National Arts and Humanities Month is a coast-to-coast collective celebration of culture in America. Coordinated by Americans for the Arts, it has become the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the nation. From arts center open houses to mayoral proclamations to banners and newspaper articles, over 10,000 communities across the United States make sure their citizens pay attention to the cultural gems surrounding them.

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Impact Summary from the Nonprofit Additional Information
A Charting Impact Report consists of an organization’s responses to the five questions. Helping validate this self-reported data are three reviews. Once an organization has used the online interface to complete its report, its responses will produce a document with a unique URL that will be shared on this website, on your GuideStar profile, on the reports of charities participating in BBB Wise Giving Alliance evaluations, and – in the future – with other websites and information sources about nonprofits. We encourage organizations to use this URL to share their report on their own website and through their own media channels. Participants will receive guidance about promoting their Charting Impact Report, along with other benefits, once they publish their report.

Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. In 2012 alone, Americans for the Arts: - Served 2,747 organization and individual members nationwide, totally 6,360 individuals served; - Recognized 28 public and private leaders for their support of the arts through its annual award programs; - Hosted over 522 arts advocates at its annual Arts Advocacy Day; - Convened and trained 1,562 individuals from 45 states at its two national conferences; - Collected over 136,000 audience surveys and 5,000 organization surveys in 182 communities nationwide for its "Arts and Economic Prosperity IV" report, measuring the economic footprint of arts organizations across the country in 2011; - Published over 11,000 customized Creative Industries reports for communities across the country; - Allowed 220,000 messages to be sent through its free online system by citizens to local, state, and federal leaders to advocate for healthier arts and arts education policies; and - Helped secure $146.255 million for the 2012 National Endowment for the Arts budget - over $11 million more than proposed by the House of Representatives.
For more in-depth information about this organization's impact, view their Charting Impact Report.

Expert Assessment

Respondents credit Americans for the Arts for their influence on the field and advocacy efforts to improve government funding of the arts. Their ability to build a network to coordinate advocacy efforts also received repeated praise from experts. Read More »

Expert Reviews and Comments

2010 Philanthropedia Top Nonprofit

This organization is a 2010 Philanthropedia top nonprofit, recommended by experts as having high impact.

These expert reviews were generated through Philanthropedia's research methodology to identify high-impact nonprofits. Learn more

Evidence of Impact

Respondents credit Americans for the Arts for their influence on the field and advocacy efforts to improve government funding of the arts. Their ability to build a network to coordinate advocacy efforts also received repeated praise from experts.

Impact
This is a strong organization in arts advocacy on the Hill, able to garner leaders from many different sectors to speak on behalf of the needs of artists, arts organizations, and arts education efforts. Foundation Professional
They enjoy a broad based constituency; they have a major impact on Congressional arts spending and remain a large scale leadership convener. Foundation Professional
As a national arts advocacy organization, they have effectively mobilized membership and staff to advocate successfully for increased federal funding for the arts. Its economic impact research (particularly its local and national reports on "Arts and Economic Prosperity” have been used successfully by other advocates to persuade mayors/city councils and governors/state legislatures to increase (or in these times maintain or not disproportionately decrease) local and state arts funding. Bob Lynch, CEO, has become a recognized and credible national voice on behalf of the arts and arts education, and has built working relationships on behalf of the arts with the national networks of both government leaders (e.g. National Governors Association) and corporations (e.g. The Conference Board). Foundation Professional
They are the national advocacy organization for arts, culture, and arts education. They have a significant influence in federal funding (NEA, NEH, Stimulus funding, Dept. of Ed). Foundation Professional
This is a national advocacy program for all forms of arts. Foundation Professional
They represent all of the local arts agencies in the United States, which number in the thousands, and provide a focal point for lobbying and technical assistance. Researcher and Faculty
They perform effective advocacy work spotlighting policy issues that are at the root of cultural expansion or collapse. Researcher and Faculty
Americans for the Arts Emerging Leader Council and Network has been at the forefront of identifying and addressing generational transition issues in the arts for the past decade. They were on this ball well before it was a hot topic and the institution has displayed an admirable willingness to give emerging leaders a forum and platform to express their voices. The annual Americans for the Arts conference is the best of its kind that I've attended in the arts. It is to my knowledge the only annual event in the United States that gives prominence to the arts' impact on communities and other vital topics that we collectively need to understand as a field. While I have issues with some of their research practices, I very much appreciate that they devote significant resources toward it. The Animating Democracy Project has produced some particularly interesting work in recent years. Researcher and Faculty
They have had a broad impact on the field. They have a strong ability to reach practitioners, students, and researchers. They are an excellent resource for the field. Researcher and Faculty
They have collected a variety of arts/business/advocacy efforts and organizations under one umbrella to form collective strategy. They have the ears of some leaders on Capitol Hill and affect federal funding for the arts. They send messages that are intended (sometimes truly, sometimes not) to present the perspective/stature of the entire nonprofit arts sector. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They represent all the arts and have a solid infrastructure and notoriety. They use pop culture and media in public messages to reach wide audiences. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Probably the most important and active non-profit that advocates for the arts. Their political advocacy is felt around the nation. A specific example is when the president of the organization spoke to members of the US government to convince them of the importance and economic impact of the arts and the necessity that arts organizations be included in the Federal stimulus package. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Americans for the Arts is the only national arts advocacy organization. Their mission fulfills a critical role in advancing the arts in American democracy. Their advocacy has resulted in recent increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and has helped preserve the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Dept. of Education. Nonprofit Senior Staff
American for the Arts is a premier non-profit that is important in arts advocacy work in the U.S. arts and education. It informs Americans of what is before congress in legislation, policy, and funding; they work to advocate for quality arts for all Americans. It has big databank systems that inform and provide guidance to knowledgeable discussion, position statements, and advocacy. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Americans for the Arts provides powerful advocacy campaigns and professional development opportunities. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They have strong and effective leadership for the arts and arts education. They also have a strong staff leadership. They have strong engagement with the arts and individual leaders. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They have a huge grassroots membership working on advocacy for the performing arts, fostered by their online communication tools. Nonprofit Senior Staff

Organizational Strengths

Most experts cite Americans for the Arts' leadership as a major asset. Other experts cite a variety of specific examples of the organization's programming strengths. Some also make a point to note operations efficiency.

Leadership & Staff
They have a long-term and highly-respected leader, a strong board, and excellent policy staff. Foundation Professional
They enjoy very aggressive staff leadership. In terms of their points of view, they seem attuned to emerging trends and needs. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Leadership
Their staff and Board leadership are excellent. Their broad based geographical impact is excellent. Foundation Professional
They have very strong leadership and staff expertise. Foundation Professional
It has very strong leadership. It is THE leading national arts advocacy organization. It greatly impacts NEA appropriations and other policy issues. Foundation Professional
They have had one director in their history, Bob Lynch. He is the public voice of public culture in the United States. Researcher and Faculty
Leadership & Program Design
Leadership, particularly the leadership of Bob Lynch but also a powerful lobbying unit led by Nina Ozlu. Their research function is also particularly strong. The historical focus on advocacy-based research, which used to be considered with some skepticism, has improved in its methodology and therefore its quality and reliability. Its recently introduced National Arts Index is a hugely important contribution to arts policy research and is completely objective and fact-based in its approach. Foundation Professional
Leadership & Resources
They have stellar leadership as well as helpful materials for artists and arts organizations. Foundation Professional
Impact and Leadership
It has a big impact on the general public, provides strong advocacy, uses multi-faceted strategies, and is an important data gatherer. It has powerful leadership. Foundation Professional
Advocacy
This organization has an international reach and is very smart about the world of advocacy. Foundation Professional
This organization is positioned to help build a strong field of arts administrators to carry the work of artists forward. Advocacy is their strongest contribution to the field and it is much needed. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Staff & Organization
Americans for the Arts has an excellent roster of junior program staff members who have demonstrated remarkable leadership in their roles. Its national network of arts advocates, administrators, and agencies, developed over the course of 50 years and several mergers, is extraordinary and lays the foundation for much of the organization's success. Researcher and Faculty
Leadership & Programming
They have excellent leadership, both at the top and in many intermediate positions. Their conferences are fantastic, and their website is well organized and packed with a huge amount of information. Researcher and Faculty
Financial Strength & Messaging
They have shown sustainability in face of economic troubled times and exhibit great creativity in their messaging. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Leadership & Operations
The organization has very strong leadership as well as effective operations. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Brand Recognition & Advocacy
Americans for the Arts is very visible among members of the arts and culture field and is well positioned to advance a national arts agenda. Almost everyone is familiar with their brand and their annual conference is well-attended. Also, members of congress recognize them as a constituency and they have established a respectable presence in D.C. The initiative of their new PAC is an important step in developing a more influential arts lobby. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Financial Strength & Staff
American for the Arts is financially well off. It received more than 100+ million from a donor about 6 years ago. It does good marketing and has developed solid infrastructure due to the finances supporting the organization and its ability to attract and retain competent, long-term staff, with competitive salaries. Its main office is in DC with satellite offices in NYC. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Program Reach & Marketing
This organization has a very broad reach and their marketing efforts seem to be effective. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Operations & National Reach
They have strong finances and offer effective federal advocacy for the arts. Their activities have a national reach. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Advocacy & Timeliness
They have excellent staffing in government affairs and an ability to react quickly to issues affecting the field. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Program
I would highlight here the work of Animating Democracy which is part of Americans for the Arts and is supporting art and civic dialogue. Other

Areas for Improvement

Experts considered expanding programming as a potential area for improvement. Others thought more robust funding and a strong program focus would help the organization do more with finite resources.

Focus Programming & More Collaboration
They could do deeper work in arts education, with a broader set of partners. Foundation Professional
Program Focus
They have merged with enough other organizations. They need to focus on core competencies. Foundation Professional
They've recently refocused their work as I understand it and it seems to help define them better. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Collaboration
Although this organization has improved its relationships with other service organizations and national membership associations, it is still regarded warily both most of those organizations and could continue to improve its coalition-building with them. I am not familiar enough with internal operations to know what improvements might be good from an operational point of view. Foundation Professional
Expand Programming
They have limited coverage for California. Foundation Professional
Diversity
Its conferences and awards frequently disproportionately feature the white arts community. Foundation Professional
There is a lack of staff diversity in senior positions and in board leadership positions. Nonprofit Senior Staff
More Collaboration
They could have broader involvement in non-member generated basic research and support for scholarship in and on the arts. Researcher and Faculty
Program Design
They could tell the story even better. Their release of the recent strategic planning efforts was very effective. Researcher and Faculty
Program Design & Operations
The biggest issue with Americans for the Arts is that its advocacy programs, though well-executed, suffer from an old-fashioned, narrow-minded focus on the NEA and state arts council budgets and a lack of imagination about what arts advocacy might look like in the future. As a researcher, this drives me crazy because there is often the perception (and sometimes the reality) that the advocacy drives the research rather than the other way around, as it should be. This is particularly a problem with their economic impact studies. Additionally, from an outsider's perspective, this organization strikes me as overly hierarchical and bureaucratic in its operations. The organization probably has more staff than it needs, and as good as the junior program staff is, there aren't many places for them to go after they reach the level of Coordinator. For an organization its size, they sometimes engage in an embarrassing level of penny-pinching, such as its policy of not offering panelists or even awardees free registration to its conference, or charging local partners for participating in research studies in which the partners do most of the work. It makes one wonder where all of that money is going. Researcher and Faculty
They could have better penetration of arts leaders and administrators in the arts disciplines - AFTA is largely focused on arts councils and those who work in them. In my opinion, state and local arts councils' influence is declining and will continue to decline. Additionally, in recent years, AFTA has been absorbing a number of smaller existing arts service organizations. This poses a danger if AFTA becomes too large and bureaucratic and less able to serve its membership. Researcher and Faculty
Impact
I'm sure a lot of people recommended this organization: it has a lot of name recognition in the nonprofit arts sector. However, I'm hesitant to recommend it to be a part of this mutual fund. Several years ago they received a substantial gift from Ruth Lilly, which allowed them to expand considerably. I wouldn't say that they have made effective use of their increased capacity and do not have confidence that they would use new funds effectively. Researcher and Faculty
Public Relations
Some of their staff (communications, for example) is not always prompt in handling day-to-day inquiries. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Expand Programming & Operations
To be honest, I hesitated to list them as a high-impact nonprofit. They have accomplished a lot over their history, but based on their size and scope I think they could be even more influential than they are. They could stand to improve their engagement with members and would benefit from empowering members to have more say in setting a national arts and culture agenda. Also, their PAC has yet to take off as a strong fundraising entity and at times leadership seems to be at odds with the PAC, as if representing it as a competing fundraising entity rather than a complement to their core work. This relationship could stand to be flushed out and clarified to their membership. They also appear to have high staff turnover and several current and past staff members have spoken negatively of leadership. This may be circumstantial evidence, but it obviously reflects poorly on the organization regardless. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Program Design & Expertise
It is high profile but lacks substance when it gets down to actual expertise in the issues before the nation. They hire experts in these areas too but they too have a superficial knowledge base. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Innovation
I am appreciative of the lobbying efforts. I have been to a couple of marketing conferences and have been excited about the ideas from those sessions, but it sometimes seems that the conversations are not leading the field, but disseminating information from innovative organizations to a wider base. Nonprofit Senior Staff
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  • Access to all available Forms 990

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Organization Data Available

Adobe PDF Format A GuideStar Premium Report in PDF format is available for this organization

Price for this Report: $125.00

This Premium Report includes:

  • Financial Data for
  • Financial Charts for
  • Forms 990 for
  • Forms 990T for
  • Audited Financial Statement for
  • Annual Reports for
  • Letter of Determination
  • Form 1023 / 1024
  • Board Members
  • Officer, Director and/or Highest Paid Employee data for


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