WhyArts, Inc.

Arts our way.

GuideStar Charity Check

WhyArts, Inc.

EIN: 36-3747722


WhyArts, founded in 1990, is dedicated to providing Omaha’s underserved populations with access to inclusive quality arts programming, no matter their circumstance. We believe the arts are an incredibly powerful means of communication for the nonstandard learner. That’s why we meet each individual at his or her level and work from there.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Mary Gibilisco

Main address

6001 Dodge Street c/o Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center at UNO


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Formerly known as

Why Arts? Inc



Subject area info

Arts and culture

Population served info

Children and youth


At-risk youth

People with disabilities

NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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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?

After-School Programming

Our after-school youth programs serve childhood, elementary and middle school students across the metro during the school year. Our teaching artists provide a diverse array of meaningful and engaging creative arts activities during these Out of School-Time hours. These programs reach more than 3,000 students a year and are made possible through funding from The Sherwood Foundation, Collective for Youth and The Jetton Foundation. WhyArts partners with 30+ OPS schools as well as the NorthStar Foundation, Nelson Mandela School, Jesuit Academy, Kids Can, Completely Kids and others.

Population(s) Served

Our proprietary program develops the best of what academics call Social Emotional Learning or SEL, life skills like motivation, grit, connection and listening that help us relate, interact and advance as respectful, empathetic human beings in a coarsening world.
Year after year, school principals, teachers and families have witnessed the elevated
self-esteem, shared experience and engagement of each Dancing Classrooms student that propels enhanced performance in- and out-of-school in the semesters that follow.
Even in a virtual and socially-distanced world, we’ve heard time again that our program results in better student performance and engagement in the classroom and beyond.

Population(s) Served

WhyArts’ Saturday Arts Academy is a continuation and an all-arts expansion of the 20-lesson social-emotional learning (SEL) Dancing Classrooms curriculum, designed to foster a growth mindset.

In spring 2022, the program was expanded to incorporate visual and theatre arts, broadening its scope to attract students who are interested in those art forms. It incorporates a similar teaching model to the Dancing Classrooms program, all participants are provided with free door-to-door bus transportation, and every student is provided with a well stocked, take-home art kit with the goal of fostering diversity, equitable participation, and inclusion.

The program is open to students grades 4-12 from our current roster of participating Omaha metropolitan schools. The classes are separated by age group. The program consists of six three-hour workshops held on Saturday mornings.

Population(s) Served

The Kids on the Block (KOB) is an educational puppet program for grades K-4 that enlightens children on the issues of disability awareness, medical-educational differences and social concerns. Each topic is thoroughly researched and provides children with the opportunity to interact with the "Kids" and address their questions regarding the specific topic.
All of the puppets represent the diverse population WhyArts serves. We hired and trained puppeteers from the community who match in disability diversity with the puppets they operate.

Starting January 2023, the program will be in the metro Omaha elementary schools and our community partners.

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 professional artists employed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of grants received

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


Number of new grants received

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


Number of multi-year grants received

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success



WhyArts, Inc.
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2019 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.25 over 7 years

Months of cash in 2019 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 9 over 7 years

Fringe rate in 2019 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0% over 7 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

Source: IRS Form 990 info

WhyArts, Inc.

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

WhyArts, Inc.

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

WhyArts, Inc.

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

This snapshot of WhyArts, Inc.’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $106,476 -$6,432 $32,335 -$40,850 -$107,025
As % of expenses 39.4% -1.9% 7.9% -8.7% -22.2%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $106,476 -$6,432 $32,335 -$40,850 -$107,025
As % of expenses 39.4% -1.9% 7.9% -8.7% -22.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $296,357 $418,774 $442,044 $430,086 $375,416
Total revenue, % change over prior year -9.0% 41.3% 5.6% -2.7% -12.7%
Program services revenue 24.4% 25.9% 30.5% 31.3% 37.7%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2%
Government grants 4.9% 2.8% 3.6% 0.9% 1.6%
All other grants and contributions 70.7% 71.3% 65.9% 67.7% 60.5%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $269,960 $347,673 $409,709 $470,936 $482,441
Total expenses, % change over prior year 10.5% 28.8% 17.8% 14.9% 2.4%
Personnel 0.0% 0.0% 1.1% 1.6% 1.6%
Professional fees 17.6% 18.6% 17.0% 23.0% 28.9%
Occupancy 1.9% 1.5% 1.7% 1.5% 0.0%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 80.5% 79.9% 80.2% 73.8% 69.6%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Total expenses (after depreciation) $269,960 $347,673 $409,709 $470,936 $482,441
One month of savings $22,497 $28,973 $34,142 $39,245 $40,203
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $292,457 $376,646 $443,851 $510,181 $522,644

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Months of cash 10.3 7.8 7.5 6.6 4.6
Months of cash and investments 10.3 7.8 7.5 6.6 4.6
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 10.3 7.8 7.5 5.5 2.7
Balance sheet composition info 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Cash $231,363 $224,931 $257,266 $257,144 $183,263
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 15.8% 40.6%
Unrestricted net assets $231,363 $224,931 $257,266 $216,416 $109,391
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets $231,363 $224,931 $257,266 $216,416 $109,391

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Principal Officer

Mary Gibilisco

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

WhyArts, Inc.

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

WhyArts, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 03/01/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board co-chair

Lucia Milone

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Term: 2022 -

Board co-chair

Homero Vela

Matt Bross


Tiffiny Clifton

Gotta Be Me

Jon Flower

First National Bank Omaha

Mary McHale

Jim Stevens

NorthStar Foundation

Kristine Swain

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Sue Weidner

Deborah Wisneski

University of Nebraska at Oaha

Liz Akert


Leigh Campbell

Baird Holmes

Gwyn Williams

Professional Development Trainer/Coach

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/11/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data