Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Blackwood Theatre Organ Society

Quick Facts

aka Blackwood Arts

Harrisville, PA

Mission

Our mission is to promote the performing and visual arts, which we accomplish through concerts, silent films, art appreciation programs, art workshops and garden tours at the Blackwood Estate. Most of our performances feature a restored 1930s vintage Wurlitzer theater pipe organ that comes to life through the mastery of the finest theater organists of both national and international acclaim. Our art workshop features an accomplished artist who provides individual attention to improve the techniques of our attendees. Our program in the elementary school program encourages the children to use their imagination when painting and stresses the importance of being bold, while putting less emphasis on fine details. The programs funded from all of our events benefit the youth of our community.

Ruling Year

2000

Principal Officer

Benjamin Robertson

Main Address

118 Blackwood Ln

Harrisville, PA 16038 USA

Keywords

music education, scholarships, art appreciation

EIN

25-1833591

 Number

1747955387

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Music (A68)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Our vision is to improve the lives of children, youth and adults in our area. Make-A-Wish Program. Since 1991, one of our annual organ concerts featuring a world-class organist is dedicated to accepting donations for our local MAW chapter so that children with life-threatening conditions are granted a special wish. Blackwood Scholarship Program. Since 2000, our annual concert/dinner event has raised donations to fund college scholarships for music education or performance. RHYTHM Program. Supports children in the pursuit of music education at their local school. Art Appreciation Program. Since 2017, BA sponsors workshops where artists can learn new techniques under the tutelage of accomplished artists and children can learn the basics of artistic expression. Estate Tours. BA offers tours of our grounds, gardens and music room to encourage visitors to attend our benefit concerts.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Make-A-Wish Benefit Concert

Music Scholarships

RHYTHM Project (Raising the Hope of Youth Through Harmony and Music)

Art Appreciation Program

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Donations made at benefit concert for Make-A-Wish Foundation

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Children and youth (0-19 years)

Related program

Make-A-Wish Benefit Concert

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context notes

This concert is held at Blackwood Arts, in which a renowned theatre organist is featured. All donations from our guests are received directly by a representative of Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Total dollar value of scholarhips awarded each year.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Students

Related program

Music Scholarships

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context notes

High school students in our regional area compete for scholarship awards to study undergraduate music education and/or performance. Annual competition is juried by professional musicians.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Through the good works of Blackwood Arts, our Make-A-Wish Program gives families of children with life-threatening conditions a special experience. Our Scholarship Program has awarded talented musicians in our area with funds to help pay for undergraduate study in music. Our goal is to continue these two programs sustaining our contributions through the foreseeable future. The RHYTHM Program is a developmental program to encourage music studies starting at the elementary school level. BA hopes to inspire these children to begin their music studies by seeing and hearing the power and joy in music. A special event at Blackwood, features a 1930-vintage Wurlitzer theater pipe organ similar to one played in today’s performances at Radio City Music Hall. An internationally renowned theater organist demonstrates the full range of the organ’s 1,200 pipes, instruments and sounds by playing contemporary music from their favorite films and accompanying a short silent movie that shows the role of music in creating mood and emotion in films. How very captivated they are as the organ rises from the floor below! This event is the first and most important step in the program. It is our belief from over 20 years of published research in the neurological sciences that students entering the band program at the earliest time frame possible will gain a life-long interest in music and thereby perform better academically, socially and psychologically. The goals for the program Phase 1 Goal: Continue the field trip event in the RHYTHM Program for the foreseeable future. Phase 2 Goal: Dedicate one concert each season to donate proceeds to purchase new instruments so that any student interested in the band program can participate. Phase 3 Goal: Provide supplemental musical training to the students by securing a partnership with a local university to engage music education students in their third and fourth year of studies to develop music lessons on Chromebooks using specialized software for musical education. Phase 4 Goal: Establish a student teaching partnership with the music department of a local university to give the children additional classroom time and give the undergraduate students college credit for their student teaching. Phase 5 Goal: Replicate the RHYTHM Program in other county schools at the junior and senior level to spread the gift of music and its benefits to a larger population in the county. For the Estate Tours and Art Appreciation Programs, the goal is to sponsor at least one program per year

Blackwood Arts has both program-specific strategies and general strategies to take our programs to higher levels of performance. Program specific strategies include: Sustain the existing partnership with the administration of the local elementary school. Develop a partnership with the administration of the school district to establish entry into the upper school music program at the appropriate time. Attend school concerts to show support for the program and to allow students, parents and teachers to get to know the BA personnel who are working to implement the RHYTHM program. Sponsor student ensembles before BA concerts or during intermission to showcase talents to the audience. Continue to dedicate one annual concert to benefit the school in purchasing instruments or other items to improve their music program. Assist band parents with their fundraising events for the band program. Provide consultation services or make volunteers available. Assist school officials with pre-production activities for a band concert open to the community. Be sure to attend the concert and get recognition in the concert program for your contribution. Establish partnership with music department of local universities to integrate a student teaching program in the elementary school. Consider new feature artists, vocalists, pianists, jazz ensembles for our concerts. General strategies include activities intended to publicize our events and expand our donor base: Visit local businesses with brochures to introduce BA to community merchants with the objective of getting future commitments for donations. Seek out organizations of local businesses and speak at their meetings to publicize BA. Continue membership in Butler Tourism, which advertises the Blackwood Arts programs in brochures located in over 70 kiosks in the county. Join organizations of businesses and nonprofit organizations to network with organizations of similar interests. Spread the word about BA and its contributions to the community. Advertise events in the local paper and other platforms to increase patronage at BA and school events.

The current Board of BA consists of individuals, including the CEO of Blackwood Arts, President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and various committee heads. None of these individuals receive compensation their services. BA has formed seven working committees that provide the energy and knowledge to keep the most important work of the organization running smoothly. Finance and Grants: Headed by the Treasurer, who is responsible for preparing the annual budget and financial reports, presenting results to the Board and recommending actions to ensure the financial stability of BA. Oversees BA investments and financial accounts, interacts with independent auditor and investment advisor, and complies with GAAP. Volunteers assist in performing bookkeeping tasks, researching grant opportunities, and writing proposals for funds to supplement our revenue streams. Governance and By-Laws: Headed by the President, who is responsible for devising strategies that enable BA to achieve long-range goals and objectives. Ensures that governance documents are consistent with Federal and State regulations. Presides over Board meetings. Works directly with the CEO to ensure that strategic plans are well formulated and executed. Social Media and Publicity: Headed by the CEO, who is responsible for ensuring the technical quality of BA’s social media sites, oversees the currency of site content, and interacts with outside technical support when necessary to improve or maintain the site. Hospitality: Headed by Board Member who is responsible for recruiting and organizing volunteers who serve at events to prepare and clear the facilities, greet guests and arrange for refreshments. Scholarship: Headed by a Board Member, who is responsible for executing the annual scholarship awards program. Distributes scholarship announcements to area schools and media outlets. Reviews applications and recommends applicants for audition with the adjudication board. Notifies winners and arranges for their participation in the annual recital to recognize their achievements. Facility and Instrument Maintenance: Headed by a Board Member, who is responsible for maintaining and improving the facility, as well as the stage equipment and instruments used in concerts. Organizes volunteers who set up and breakdown concert seating, and related tasks on the days when performances are held at Blackwood. Program: Headed by the CEO, who is responsible for developing the annual program of events and contracting for artists for the scheduled events. Oversees the preparation of the annual newsletter, which announces the details of upcoming events for the season and initiates the annual fund drives. BA compensates independent firms for legal counsel, CPA services, IT services and investment advisory services.

The Make-A-Wish Program has been the backbone of BA for over 29 years. Since 1991, when the first concert benefitting this charity was held at Blackwood, the cumulative total of donations has been slightly over $400,000. This has enabled over 100 children with life-threatening illnesses in the Western Pennsylvania region and their family members to receive a meaningful wish. BA considers a successful campaign if concert proceeds range from $15,000 to $20,000. We work closely with the Make-A-Wish of Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia to publicize the gift of a check in the local newspaper. BA takes great pride in the continuity of our campaigns for this extended period of time. The Blackwood Scholarship Program has awarded scholarships to high-school students who wish to pursue a college-level program in music performance or education. The most promising applicants audition before members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and other professional musicians. Since 2000, $336,000 in scholarships and grants have been awarded to 99 students. BA considers the annual campaign to be successful if we received 15-20 applications and award at least 5 scholarships to the winners who auditioned. Our annual dinner concert is considered successful if we obtain at least $20,000 at this event. For almost 20 years now, BA celebrated these talented musicians by asking them to appear in a free recital open to the public to celebrate their achievements. The RHYTHM Program has been in development since 2005 and must continue through more phases to achieve our intended results. We have been in the first phase of this program, which is to invite students of the local elementary school to our free organ concert and silent film presentation. The annual field trip from the school sends approximately 90 fourth-grade students to attend. We find this trip successful if at least half of the students respond that they enjoyed the concert and at least 25 percent consider signing up for the band program. Additional measures of success will be developed as new phases of the program are implemented. For the Art Appreciation Program and the Estate Tours Program, we will measure success if at least one event is held for the public each year.

Over the past 29 years, Blackwood Arts has developed and sustained both the Make-A-Wish Program and the Scholarship Program, both of which have improved the lives of children and youth in our region. These programs are operating successfully in the current environment and will continue into the foreseeable future with the full support of Blackwood Arts. We have begun the implementation of the RHYTHM Program, which aims to improve the lives of elementary school children in the initial phases of the program, and expand into middle and high schools within the county. BA has already donated many new instruments to the school and is working on a partnership to supplement musical training with software solutions and supplemental tutoring to replace lost funding for the arts with budget cuts. Altogether these three programs have contributed over $780,000 toward the children and students in our regional community, with the likelihood that the trend will continue in an upward direction. As the RHYTHM Program evolves into its next phases, we expect to involve not only students but also their parents, the administration of the school, teachers and elements of the local university to come together to supplement the music program in county schools. The expected result of introducing an enriched music program at all levels of education is the development of youngsters who strive to perform become better academically, socially and psychologically because of the benefits that music education and the support of significant others in their lives provide. Our Arts Appreciation Program has held three separate events since 2017 and our Estate Tour Program has held five events since 2018

External Reviews

Financials

Blackwood Theatre Organ Society

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

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?

Not Applicable

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable