The Board of Directors of the Center for the Arts Evergreen (CAE) has taken its governing role very seriously and has demonstrated high standards in ethics and prudent business practices in its work on behalf of CAE. This is apparent not only by the Directors’ conduct at monthly Board meetings, committee meetings and events but also by their approach to strategic planning.
The Board values collaboration and seeks advice from experts on Staff and outside of CAE before it makes major decisions about the mission of CAE, the core values it wants to maintain and the priorities of the organization. In particular, it welcomes insights from Staff about the best way to serve the community and to deploy the time, talents and resources available to us. Ambitious, yet attainable goals and action plans could not be developed without a solid, respectful working relationship among all those on the Board and Staff.
Now more than ever CAE serves as Evergreen’s and the mountain communities’ cultural hub– a meeting place for the arts, music, literature and learning. Our new building, and more importantly what takes place inside the building, demonstrates the true value of this fine organization. Whether it is through the classes we offer, the special events we hold or the major exhibitions we present, we strive to educate and enhance the understanding of the arts to all who are interested.
As the Executive Director of CAE, I am excited about what lies ahead for us in our continuing quest to advance the goals contained in this 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. My thanks to all who gave their energy and enthusiasm to this worthwhile endeavor.
Steve Sumner, Executive Director
The Center for the Arts Evergreen (CAE) Board of Directors first developed a Strategic Plan (Plan) in January 2017 in conjunction with the purchase and opening of a new, larger facility. The purpose of taking a more formal approach to planning was to identify challenges and opportunities associated with an expanded presence in the community and to outline the steps needed for the organization to adapt, grow and best serve the community. At the time the Plan was first created, the Board acknowledged that it would need to be a multi-year rolling plan that was updated annually to keep it alive and meaningful.
The Board and Executive Director met on January 18, 2018 to update the Strategic Plan, guide the organization from 2018 through 2021 and build upon decisions carefully made a year ago. As is to be expected with any well-crafted Plan, the Mission Statement did not change. It lives on. Likewise, the Core Values that the Board developed last year remain steadfast and unchanged. They guide the activities of the internal organization and our relationships with those outside of CAE.
To enrich and serve our mountain community by promoting and cultivating the arts
with quality educational programs, exhibitions and events
In addition to the Mission Statement, we often use a tagline or motto on our letterhead, website and published brochures. It is a short, memorable and inspirational phrase that encapsulates the purpose of our organization.
Bringing the arts and the community together
We believe in providing creative, inspirational and innovative arts experiences to enrich the intellectual and cultural fabric and well being of the community.
We believe in offering an inclusive and accessible environment for all people to share in the creative experience.
We believe in nurturing partnerships with individuals, organizations, schools and businesses to bring the arts and community together.
We believe in pursuing the highest standards of conduct and ethics; operating with complete transparency; and fulfilling all organizational and personal commitments and responsibilities.
Financial Sustainability and Stewardship
We believe in maintaining prudent financial planning and management practices to secure current and future viability and sustainability.
Respect and Appreciation
We believe in recognizing and appreciating the value of our audiences; the talent of our artists; the generosity of our funders; the dedication and performance of our staff, board and volunteers; and the involvement and support of the community.
With the Mission Statement and Core Values in mind, the Board reviewed the 2017-2020 Goals and Action Plans and updated them in light of changing circumstances in the Board, the Staff, the organization’s resources, and the community. The language of the Goals was modified somewhat but the overarching Goals stayed essentially the same, focusing on the five key areas of:
- Financial Sustainability
Some of last year’s Action Plans under the Goals remain in this updated Plan because they are still relevant and worthwhile. These may have been reworded or rearranged but the essence was not changed. Other Action Plans were deleted for one of three reasons. Either they 1) represented tasks or projects that were completed, 2) involved new practices that have been incorporated into the ongoing operations, or 3) seemed no longer a high priority for CAE.
New Action Plans in this updated Plan represent the Board’s interest in continuous improvement and broader reach. The Board, however, exercised prudent restraint by not adding too many new initiatives because it recognizes that significant effort will be focused on the facility addition for several years. What follows are the Goals and Action Plans approved by the Board in February 2018. This remains an ambitious Strategic Plan but one that is certainly achievable by the dedicated Directors, Staff and Volunteers and with the support of our Members, Sponsors and Donors.
Goal #1 – Expand the Current Facility to Meet the Needs of the Community
a. Finalize Phase II design, capital requirements and timeline
b. Convene and select chair for the Capital Campaign Committee
c. Identify capital requirements (pro forma financials) for addition.
d. Decide upon the types and numbers of classes and studios to be offered & finalize floor plans
e. Determine equipment, furniture and supplies needed
f. Establish fundraising plans and major donor opportunities
g. Finalize fund raising
h. Assign project manager to oversee permits/contractors/construction
i. Ensure any additional staffing requirements have been identified with hiring plans
j. Plan a grand opening to introduce Donors, Members, and the community to the new addition
Goal #2 – Evaluate Costs & Community Benefits of CAE’s Current Programs
a. Resurvey the community and membership about the value of classes, workshops, events, festivals, shows, and exhibitions
b. Consider what is needed (space and equipment) to be able to offer craft activities
c. Consider offering classes tailored to disabled individuals
d. Follow up on interests expressed by seniors living in low income housing
e. Reach consensus with the Board about what classes to offer now and what to offer when the addition is completed
f. Create a written policy about instructor compensation
g. Create periodic written reports for the Board about numbers of classes, class sizes, profitability, satisfaction, space utilization and recommendations for improvements
h. More closely analyze attendance at events and number of visitors to CAE
i. Explore pros and cons of having satellite galleries
j. Schedule and host focus groups of community artists to assess needs and suggestions for advanced audiences
Goal #3 – Clarify Target Audiences & Service Areas to Better Focus Outreach & Increase Membership
a. Create a written summary of the outreach activities that are currently taking place and analyze the value and success of these the activities
b. Develop a robust, searchable and user-friendly donor database
c. Enhance collaborations with other nonprofits and community groups
d. Use surveys to reach various audiences with specific questions about their perceptions, expectations, needs and desires for CAE
e. Determine what other nonprofits the Directors serve on and whether they can promote CAE to those organizations
f. Develop methods/metrics to gauge public, member and donor awareness and perceptions about the full range of CAE’s offerings
g. Assess the public’s awareness of off-campus events such as Summerfest and Winterfest and their perceived association with CAE
h. Determine target audiences given demographic trends in Evergreen and the foothills of Jefferson County
i. Correct impressions that CAE is only for fine art and artists in order to more fully engage all in the community regardless of their art knowledge or skill level
Goal #4 – Develop Optimal Governance and Management Structure, Policies & Practices
a. Determine the optimal staffing for the current situation and Phase II operations
b. Create a written compensation policy reflecting the Board’s philosophy about salary surveys, evaluation criteria, etc.
c. Review and update all staff job descriptions
d. Present sexual harassment training for the Board and Staff
e. Institute an annual review of Bylaws, Board policies and Committee charters
f. Undertake an internal risk assessment that includes a review of internal controls among other things
g. Explore the efficacy of hiring a development director
h. Implement a policy of collecting information about volunteer time and in-kind donations from Directors at Board meetings
Goal #5 – Improve Operational Cash Flow & Develop Strategies to Ensure Financial Sustainability
a. Set specific financial goals for 2018 operations
b. More closely track donor statistics and trends
c. Investigate one-time capacity grants
d. Implement activity based accounting that includes an allocation of overhead costs
e. Take steps to set up an endowment fund
f. Launch a planned giving program
g. Develop a five-year proforma for both operations and the capital campaign
The board and staff will discuss the steps they will take to execute the Action Plans in a timely manner. The Board will review a written progress report that will track the progress of Action Plans under the Strategic Plan on a quarterly basis (March, June, September, December). If adjustments need to be made to the deadlines or assigned responsibilities, those changes will be made by the Board President in conjunction with the Executive Director at the Board meetings.
The operating budget and the capital campaign budget are tied to the Strategic Plan. They will be maintained and revised as necessary based upon the Goals, Action Plans and accomplishments
Success under the Plan will be determined by the Board based upon measurable progress at year-end. The Board will take into account the timelines, how responsibilities were handled and whether budgeted time and financial resources were accurately estimated. In January 2019 the Strategic Plan will once again be reviewed and updated so that it is continued as a multi-year plan.
As always, we welcome the community’s input. We are greatly influenced by what our members, sponsors and donors want and expect so please send us your thoughts and comments.