MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Obelisk Awards Luncheon

Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran*

According to Parkland Health and Hospital System Senior Deputy General Counsel and 2017 Obelisk Awards Luncheon Co-Chairs Steven Roth and Thai-Ian Tran,

I hope the Dallas community will make plans to join the Business Council for the Arts and us for the 29th Annual Obelisk Awards on Wednesday, November 15, at the Belo Mansion.  

The Obelisk Awards recognizes companies and leaders in business and the arts for their invaluable contributions supporting arts and culture in North Texas. We know this year’s recipients will be no exception and we look forward to announcing them soon.

Ryan Anthony (File photo)

The Obelisk Awards luncheon will include a reception, seated lunch and recognition of the 2017 award recipients. The keynote speaker for the event is Karen Brooks Hopkins, who currently serves as the Nasher Haemisegger Fellow for the National Center for Arts Research. She is the former president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Returning as Master of Ceremonies is North Texas Public Broadcasting President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff, which includes KERA Radio and Television, as well as KXT and affiliated programs. Returning to the Obelisk stage will be last year’s speaker Ryan Anthony, principal trumpet of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra/founder of The Ryan Anthony Foundation.

Individual tickets are $150 each; sponsorships begin at $750.  For more information about the Obelisk Awards, visit http://ntbca.org/obelisk or contact Catherine Thompson, 972.991.8300, Ext. 601.

Business Council for the Arts (BCA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 as connector and convenor between businesses, municipalities, and arts and cultural organizations. For 29 years, Business Council for the Arts has advocated for business support of the arts, developed business leaders for nonprofit boards of directors; fostered employee creativity, engagement and creativity through the arts; guided strategic business support for the arts; and measured the economic impact of arts and culture in North Texas.

* Photo provided by Business Council for the Arts

 

According To Lisa Singleton, “The Nonprofit Life Is No Party”

Nonprofits deserve respect. Some out-of-touch types still consider the fundraising sector as goody-two-shoe people who use guilt and pity to get a donation. Those unknowing ones probably still think the buggy whip will make a comeback.

A remarkable article was recently written by Dallas volunteer fundraiser/ Brunswick Group Director Lisa Singleton for the Brunswick Review about the professionalism of nonprofits especially in North Texas. It’s an easy read and reveals how area nonprofits, like any for-profit corporation, applied practices and strategy to not just rebound but to tackle the growing needs of the 21st century.    

By Lisa Singleton*

Lisa Singleton (File photo)

As the economy tightened after 2008 and corporate boards came under intense pressure to deliver for shareholders, the nonprofit world was also struggling. Charitable giving dwindled, straining the ability of organizations to fulfill their missions, and more donors sought closer accountability for their contributions.

Nonprofit boards were forced to evolve. Once considered pastimes for the leisure class, today they operate much more as for-profits do, with strong business people at the helm and rigorous expectations for members. No longer can they afford to be seen as volunteer opportunities or social stepping stones – the purview of those who want to use the board to broaden their network or increase their standing in the community. Donors who want to have their name on the board but do little else are finding few open doors.

“It’s not just well-intentioned people running these organizations, as in the past,” says Paige Flink, Executive Director of The Family Place, the largest service provider for victims of family violence in the Dallas area. “What we are seeing now are nonprofit leaders with distinct skills suited to advancing the organization.”

Paige Flink (File photo)

Rowland “Robin” Robinson (File photo)

Rowland K. Robinson, President of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation in Dallas, says expectations are changing. “The nonprofit business is extremely competitive,” he says, “and the board needs to reflect the environment where dollars are under pressure.”

Robinson looks for directors who can offer an exact mix of resources and skills to best support fundraising efforts.

“I look for three characteristics: a connection with my organization; passion for what we do; and resources – either their own or from elsewhere, but they need access to the means to give. I need all three from my members.”

Mary Anne Alhadeff (File photo)

Mary Anne Alhadeff, CEO of North Texas Public Broadcasting, a nonprofit media organization, agrees: “If someone is searching for a board seat to raise their profile or for personal gain, we are not the right fit. I need business people who are passionate advocates for what we do. My donors are my shareholders, and I need to keep them happy. The right board can make that happen.”

The professionalization of the nonprofit board brings inherent challenges that would seem familiar to any publicly traded corporation, such as succession planning, term limits and director evaluation. Putting best practices into place can make all the difference.

“The term for a board chair can have a significant impact on an organization,” says Alhadeff. Term limits and other structural parameters need to be balanced to deliver the organization’s vision, she says. Board member responsibilities and measures of effectiveness need to be spelled out for the relationship with management to be successful.

“At The Family Place, in vetting potential board members, we communicate the expectations clearly, up front,” says Flink. “Then, a board ‘report card’ is compiled at the start of each year – did they do what was outlined? Did they deliver against expectations? There is very real accountability.”

Both Robinson and Alhadeff stress that effective executive or advisory committees are critically important. While the full board can be effective as ambassadors for an organization, these smaller panels function as advisers for the CEO and management staff and are often where the real work gets done.

In the end, getting board dynamics right is critical to the ability of any nonprofit to fulfill its mission.

“The board of directors can be the single biggest threat to a nonprofit,” says Alhadeff, “but also its single biggest opportunity to achieve its goals.”

– See more at: https://www.brunswickgroup.com/publications/brunswick-review/boardroom-issue-10/nonprofit-boards/#sthash.wyvDFNIi.dpuf

* Reprinted courtesy of Brunswick Group

JUST IN: Business Council For The Arts’ Obelisk Awards Luncheon Plans Announced With Ryan Anthony As Keynote Speaker

Since arriving in North Texas, Neiman Marcus Director of Charitable Giving and Association Volunteerism Kevin Hurst has rolled up his shirt sleeves and loosened his bow tie to get involved with the local nonprofit community. Yes, just a few days ago, he eloquently wrote about the business sector’s behind-the-scenes networking to support nonprofit projects. But he’s more than an articulate writer, a NM employee and a more-than-should-be-allowed fun dinner partner.

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

Dotti Reeder*

Dotti Reeder*

Last year he chaired the Business Council for the ArtsObelisk Awards and Luncheon. He had so much fun taking on the very successful fundraiser, he agreed to co-chair this year’s Obelisk along with Tolleson Wealth Management’s Dotti Reeder.

Already the Hurst-Reeder team reports that the event will take place at the Belo Mansion on Monday, November 7 (aka Election Day eve) with North Texas Public Broadcasting President/CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff returning as emcee.

Mary Anne Alhadeff**

Mary Anne Alhadeff**

Ryan Anthony**

Ryan Anthony**

While the honorees will be selected in August, the keynote speaker has already been locked down. It will be Dallas Symphony Orchestra Principle trumpet Ryan Anthony.

Yup, it’s the same Ryan Anthony, who has been the driving force of Cancer Blows and has beaten the heck out of multiple myeloma. But he also appreciates the support of the business community in both his professional and personal lives.

According to Ryan, “I am grateful to the businesses that recognize and support the importance of arts in our community. They are the reason the symphony, the museums and the entire Arts District are able to exist and make Dallas such a wonderful place to live and work.”

It is that point of view that impressed Kevin, who said, “What I found to be most intriguing, is the correlation between Ryan’s professional arts passion and how he has leveraged it to become his personal passion…which to me embodies the very essence of the BCA mission.”

Stay tuned (no pun intended). As soon as Dotti and Kevin reveal the honorees, we’ll let you know. Until then, check out sponsorship and ticket opportunities.

* Photo credit: Jan Osborn 
** Photo provided by Business Council For The Arts