Friday, November 21, 2008

Required Reading for All Trustees and Directors

When it comes to stepping up to the plate, it doesn't make any difference if your institution is a small-budgeted organization running on volunteered energy or a large and complex cultural entity -- nonprofit boards and their leadership staff are responsible for the financial health of their institutions.  That they be held accountable for this basic tenet of nonprofit governance is what the LA Times art critic Christopher Knight's "open letter" to the board members of the Museum of Contemporary Art is all about.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy states, "Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Knight — who notes that in 1998 the museum operated with a $50-million endowment, now rumored to have shrunk to $7-million — says the trustees “must call an urgent board meeting, gather round the table, pull out your checkbooks and calculators, and stay in that room until you have cobbled together at least $25 million.” He suggests this act be followed by budget cuts and the crafting of a new strategic plan."

Sound familiar?

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