Art & Business Council of Chicago

Lending expertise. Providing Support. Facilitating Partnerships.

aka A&BC of Chicago   |   Chicago, IL   |  http://www.artsbiz-chicago.org

Mission

A&BC/Chicago builds partnerships which enhance the management capacity of creatives while strengthening the business sector by expanding the consulting, management, and leadership capabilities of individuals through effective volunteerism. A&BC/Chicago supports a diverse population of creative businesses each year. By advancing a philosophy among arts leaders of professionalism, innovation, client/community service and entrepreneurship, A&BC/Chicago strives to grow the capacity of the arts to make a deep and lasting impression in the lives of communities and individuals.

Notes from the nonprofit

As 2020 & 2021 were pandemic years, where arts and culture not for profits and creative business were focused on survival and not capacity building per se, comparisons made below are to the prior two-year period of (2018-2019). • LEARNING LABS: o 12 workshops; 299 participants (+41%) Price reduced from $65 to $35, a loss of $8,970 yet a provision made to accommodate a financially struggling sector o 17 Content Experts (41% POC) • On BOARD: o 16 sessions; 267 participants (+88%) Price reduced from $65 to $35, a loss of $8,010 yet a provision made to accommodate a financially struggling sector o 17 Content Experts (41% POC) • BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS FOR THE ARTS: o Engaged 32 Unique Organizations (38% POC; -13%) o Launched 19 Projects (-68%) o 10 On Demand consultancies (+100%) o Engaged 102 volunteers (+21%); Valued at $266,000 (-107%) o Trained 50 new volunteers (-20%), 38% POC (+6%); incorporating 60 min of content on identity politics & the impact of racism on the sector

Ruling year info

1986

Executive Director

Ms. Kristin Larsen

Main address

4725 North Rockwell Street

Chicago, IL 60625 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-3376861

NTEE code info

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

Arts Council/Agency (A26)

Nonprofit Management (S50)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Arising from the Field Foundation Heat Maps, the 2017 Point The Way report from a coalition of Chicago capacity building funders, and our own internal racial equity audit of 2018, A&BC concluded: 1. That stronger business, management, and governance practices lead to better outcomes for art makers. The resulting strengthened arts sector leads to more engaged, deeper, and increased cultural participation. Studies show that cultural participation increases a person’s desire to participate in improving their community. 2. That communities of color have been structurally underinvested and/or disinvested through historic, demographic, geographic, economic, and race-based inequities. Since 2019, A&BC’s focus has been to serve creatives in all 77 of Chicago’s named communities, prioritizing historically excluded communities and organizations in the arts & culture landscape.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Core Programs

A&BC/Chicago is one of 5 U.S. affiliates, which collectively provide the largest national volunteer network serving the cultural community. Each year A&BC serves more than 100 creative businesses in metro-Chicago, strengthening the business side of their operations through innovative and practical programs: Business Volunteers for the Arts [BVA] recruits, develops and places experienced business professionals as pro bono business consultants with small to mid-sized arts organizations. BVAs address challenges in such areas as strategic, marketing and financial planning. On BOARD addresses the leadership and governance needs of arts organizations and their boards. It recruits, trains and places business professionals as board members on non-profit arts boards. Learning Labs are professional development workshops for administrators and leaders of arts-engaged organizations. smARTscope® is A&BC/Chicago's proprietary diagnostic tool that assesses management and governance.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of members from priority population attending training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Related Program

Core Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

POC led or serving creative businesses/ BVA

Hours of consulting time accessed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Related Program

Core Programs

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Volunteers time serving BVA Projects and On Demand

Number of consulting projects completed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

BVA Projects launched

Number of organizations accessing technical assistance offerings

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Related Program

Core Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Labs & OnBoard workshops 315+ in 2021

Total number of new organization members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Related Program

Core Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

33 of unique Zip codes served by BVA Projects 11 in 2021

Number of community initiatives in which the organization participates

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Related Program

Core Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Annexes in community

Number of one-on-one coaching sessions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

BVA On Demand

Number of curricula accessed by other organizations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

On Board on demand

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Our 2022 GOALS
#1: Increase the racial and ethnic diversity of content experts of 6 Learning Labs and 6 On BOARD sessions from 41% to 50%.

#2: Enhance volunteer corps with essential skills and cultural competency, recruiting 16 new volunteers and 5 new Team Leads, 40% who identify as POC; Volunteer orientation will offer 60 minutes (within the 3-hour volunteer orientation) addressing racism in the sector & identity politics.

#3: Increase the diversity of Chicago zip codes and/ or communites served, by adding 10 Arts Partners to our portfolio, specifically increasing the number from those operating in the West, South, Southwest, and Far Southeast sides of Chicago. We will accomplish this by 1) prioritizing BVA applications that: a) primarily serve those that have been historically excluded from capacity building programs and b) lend to larger sector-wide learning and; 2) Conducting monthly A&BC Annexes (July- December) at the following Cultural Centers (pending CPD staffing): Douglass Cultural Center/Fieldhouse – North Lawndale; Palmer Cultural Center/Fieldhouse - Roseland; Austin Town Hall Cultural Center/Fieldhouse - Austin; Hamilton Park Cultural Center/Fieldhouse - Englewood; South Shore Cultural Center/Fieldhouse – South Shore; and Marquette Cultural Center/Fieldhouse- Chicago Lawn.

#4: Increase racial and ethnic diversity and community representation of A&BC’s Board of Directors. Recognizing A&BC’s greatest opportunity to achieve internal racial equity is within its volunteer ranks (BVA & Board) versus professional personnel (at this time of reduced staffing). Currently A&BC’s Board is comprised of 9 individuals, 30% who identify as POC and 30% who represent the communites we serve. The A&BC Board will recruit three (3) new board members by the November 22, 2022 board meeting.

#5: Advance key and historic private sector relationships. Generally, corporate support pulls back during economic downturns. And during the pandemic A&BC did not present its annual luncheon fundraiser and consequently retained only two of its corporate partners, further highlighting the transactional nature of the relationship. In 2022, A&BC will increase its corporate partners portfolio from 2 to 8-10, through sponsorship or partnership, specifying the communities and clients we are serving and intend to serve and describe how A&BC’s work extends or complements existing private sector community investment strategy, that the creative economy and artists and not for profits are equivalent to small business growth.

The Arts & Business Council of Chicago (A&BC) began operations in Chicago in 1985 under the auspices of Business Volunteers for the Arts® which remains the core of its capacity building programming. A&BC’s programs focus on enhancing business acumen and developing leadership.

A&BC serves Chicagoans interested in giving back to their communities by providing voluntary consulting to small to mid-sized arts and culture not for profits and creative business of all disciplines, their staff and boards, prioritizing those that have been historically excluded from capacity building programs.

We accomplish this priority by committing to increasing our programs to serve creatives in all 77 of Chicago’s named communities, prioritizing historically excluded communities and organizations in the arts & culture landscape.

By focusing on small to mid-sized creative businesses A&BC acknowledges that limited human resources and specific business acumen hinders a business from becoming sustainable and thriving.

Our strategies to build the capacity include:
• Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA), a voluntary consulting program connecting skilled Chicagoans with arts, cultural, and creative communities in need of operational and management assistance
• Learning Labs, professional development & skill-build workshops to enhance management and leadership core competencies
• On BOARD®, unique nonprofit board leadership training program
• smARTscope®, a proprietary diagnostic tool that assesses the management core competencies of creative businesses

A&BC is at the heart of the intersection between Chicago’s arts and business communities and on the front lines of ensuring a thriving arts scene and a culturally rich Chicago.

Businesses, big and small, cultural or corporate, need a workforce that can respond to a complex, every-changing marketplace.

Every A&BC undertaking fosters professional and leadership development through an immersive community engagement that helps bring people together, build bridges, open conversation, and create understanding - three capacities that are essential to building a more equitable Chicago.

A&BC is Chicago's only organization with a mission to connect the culture and corporate communities, linking money and business expertise to community-level creative endeavors.

A&BC is structurally designed to act as a connector and encourage private sector investment within community.
A&BC’s position at this unique intersection creates the opportunity to develop prosperous communities, focusing on Main Street, with the support and collaboration of LaSalle Street.

A&BC harnesses the capacity of the private sector to build the capacity of the arts & culture sector through our corps of 450+ Business Volunteers for the Arts.

As 2020/21 were pandemic years, where creative businesses were focused on survival and not capacity building, comparisons below are to the prior two-year period (of 2018/19). “POC” (People of Color) represents people who identity as non-white or bi-racial.

LEARNING LABS:
o 12 workshops; 299 participants (+41%) Price reduced from $65 to $35, a loss of $8,970 yet a provision made to accommodate a financially struggling sector
o 17 Content Experts (41% POC)
“Our WTTW and WFMT Chief Development Officer Jill Britton attended your Learning Lab ‘It’s Not All About the Give/Get: A New Model for Assessing Board Contribution’. She has not stopped raving about what a fantastic workshop it was!” - Bridget Dehl, Executive Assistant to Jill Britton, WTTW/ WFMT

On BOARD:
o 16 sessions; 267 participants (+88%) Price reduced from $65 to $35, a loss of $8,010 yet a provision made to accommodate a financially struggling sector
o 17 Content Experts (41% POC)

“If you’ve ever thought about lending your talents as a board member to a nonprofit organization, I can’t recommend this program enough. Not only did A&BC's On BOARD give me the training I needed to be an impactful board member on Day One and a rich experience with the wonderful PRIDE FILMS AND PLAYS (not to mention fabulous memories and friends), but it gave me the confidence to know I could learn new skills. A few years later I have an MBA and a whole new career. Take the chance, give back, and you might be surprised what it gives you.” - Stephanie Simon

BUSINESS VOLUNTEERS FOR THE ARTS (BVA):
o Engaged 32 Unique Organizations (-13%), 38% POC
o Launched 21 Projects (-68%). Upon completion Arts Partners reported:
-- The BVA Team converted goals into an easily understandable work plan that maintained clear and achievable action plans. - 87% STRONGLY AGREE, 13% AGREE
-- The product delivered by the BVA Team was valuable and actionable - 100%
-- The BVA Project had the following effect on the organizations:
• Helped enhance leadership team's ability to make good decisions – 73%
• Helped improve systems that support operational efficiency – 73%
• Helped ongoing ability to build & sustain capacity without outside help – 67%
• Improved the alignment between programs/ activities and mission – 40%
o Engaged 102 volunteers (+21%); Valued at $266,000 (-107%) Upon completion Volunteers reported working on their BVA project:-- Helped them better understand the NFP/arts and culture sector's operating environment – 81%
o Trained 50 new volunteers (-20%), 38% POC (+6%)
EX: BVA Project- Marketing- Theatre Above the Law. Valued at $21,300. Cost to TAtL- $300
“Focusing on 1 issue for in depth yields more than a scattershot approach. We were overwhelmed with everything we needed to do to keep the doors open and this helped us to focus. We also learned a lot about our audience which is wider than we thought, and we can build on that.” Board President

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Arts & Business Council of Chicago (A&BC) connects the city’s arts and business communities to ensure a thriving and equitable creative economy. Empowering Chicago creatives with the tools they need to prosper, our programs, services, and partnerships lead to increased economic strength and community vitality. A&BC focuses on small to mid-sized creative businesses of all artistic disciplines, prioritizing historically excluded creative peoples and communities. A&BC’s programs focus on enhancing business acumen and developing leadership.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    A&BC conducted two surveys among its current Arts Partners to fully understand what art makers’ needs are as the pandemic continued to disrupt their businesses. In response A&BC launched “Round Tables for Senior Leaders”, a monthly gathering designed to benefit senior leaders from creative businesses and nonprofit organizations to convene with peers to discuss ideas, context, and emotions; to make sense; and re-orient their visions and actions. Facilitated by our Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) , Round Tables offer conversations on a variety of management and leadership topics. Additionally, we adapted BVA to provide short term consultations (on Demand) to help individuals get "unstuck" and identify next steps. And finally, we offered all workshops on line.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    For example: We no longer use language like "best practices" to reflect that as a capacity building our experience had been mostly served white led 501c3 organizations. Opening ourselves up to those whose voices or experiences was not "seen" or valued has liberated us from the notion of having the "correct" answers or approaches to capacity building. Approaching the work with respect and curiosity has revealed 'un-known to us' solutions to persistent challenges in our sector; empowered our partners; and being seen as a trusted partner.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome,

Financials

Art & Business Council of Chicago
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Art & Business Council of Chicago

Board of directors
as of 10/29/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms Robyn Wheeler

Willis Towers Watson

Term: 2021 - 2021

Joel Farran

Melissa Elbert

AON

Judy Brennan

Simi Gambhir

Third City Properties

Amanda Delheimer

2nd Story

Roche Schulfer

The Goodman Theatre

Jake Trussell

Metabolize

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/21/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/21/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.