The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro (The ACGG) Empowers Local Arts and Cultural Organizations through the New Creative Investment Organizational Sustainability and Resiliency Initiative.

The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro (The ACGG) is proud to announce the successful completion of Phase I of its “Pathways to Sustainability: Organizational Support and Capacity Building” initiative, which commenced in January 2023 in partnership with Steve Zimmerman, the founder of Spectrum Nonprofit Services. Over the course of February to July 2023, this endeavor engaged 27 participating organizations in a comprehensive program centered around Steve’s acclaimed book, “The Sustainability Mindset.”

Participating organizations immersed themselves through in-person and virtual sessions, complemented by personalized 1:1 coaching. The key learnings and takeaways from this phase encompassed:

  • The clear identification of intended impact, target audiences, and desired outcomes.
  • Insight into program profitability, including true cost and contribution/subsidy requirements.
  • The creation of a matrix map, visually illustrating program interdependencies for achieving impact and financial viability.
  • An in-depth analysis of revenue trends and strategies for generating additional revenue over several years.
  • A shared understanding among the leadership of the organization’s business model.
  • Initial strategic priorities were designed to fortify the organization’s business model.
  • Tools enabling the continuous updating of the matrix map and informed strategic decision-making as the organizational environment evolves.

The program received enthusiastic feedback from participants, such as Stephen Colyer from Greensboro Bound and Brian Gray from the Carolina Theatre, who expressed their gratitude for the invaluable support provided by The ACGG. 

Phase II, which commenced in August 2023 and extends through Spring 2024, has invited Guilford County’s arts organizations to participate in additional learning cohorts focused on key themes aimed at achieving long-term sustainability. The goal is to advance further the strategic priorities identified in Phase I. 

The ACGG has engaged providers and firms located within 100 miles of Guilford County to develop content and facilitate cohort-based learning in three identified themes:

  1. Organizational Leadership (August – October 2023): This theme covers strategies for attracting, orienting, developing, and retaining board and staff talent, best practices for navigating change, improving board/staff relationships, and building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizational culture. Change Often, LLC, a High Point-based consultancy specializing in social innovation solutions, is the facilitator for this theme. 
  2. Resource Development (October – December 2023): This theme explores fundraising strategies to stabilize, increase, and diversify financial support, operationalizing fundraising planning, creating a compelling case for support, and fostering a culture of philanthropy within organizations. PMA Nonprofit Leadership, a Charlotte-based firm, will facilitate this theme. 
  3. Marketing/Communications (Winter/Spring 2024): This theme will address creating a compelling brand message to drive demand for programs and services, cultivating audiences, and leveraging marketing/communications tools and strategies to communicate organizational impact. The provider for this theme will be identified in Fall 2023. 

The Cohort facilitators will design a series of educational workshop sessions and provide supplemental counsel and coaching to help organizations embed their learning into new ways of working. A total of 26 organizations have committed to participating in these Phase II learning cohorts. 

In addition to Phase II, The ACGG has partnered with Triangle Artworks to offer a customized version of their AccelARTS Program, catering to Guilford County arts and cultural organizations with budgets of $50,000 and below. The program aims to provide deep learning, mentoring, and peer support over a 12-week period, enhancing organizational sustainability and potential for financial growth. Twelve organizations have chosen to participate in this program, which began in August and will conclude in December. 

Laura Way, President + CEO at The ACGG, said,

“We must be focused on sustainability and resiliency within our arts sector. The Pandemic highlighted structural issues within our organizations, and through this process, they will be teased out, evaluated, and addressed in a systematic manner. This work would not be possible without the guidance from the NCAC and Guilford County and their support of our initiative, the New Creative Investment.”

About The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro (The ACGG): 
The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro is dedicated to fostering creativity and enriching the cultural lives of all residents. The ACGG strives to support, promote, and elevate local arts and cultural organizations, making a lasting impact in the community. 

About the New Creative Investment: 
New Creative Investment Organizational Sustainability and Resiliency Initiative of The ACGG, funded by Guilford County and the North Carolina Arts Council utilizing allocations from the American Rescue Plan Act.