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Small Nonprofits Bring a Powerful Presence

The Nonprofit Management Fund recently issued a report titled “The Importance of Being Small.” This report assessed the health and well being of greater Milwaukee’s small arts organizations, and the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. While delivering their programs, they must constantly search not for just funding, but for governance and leadership; for space; for volunteer support; for professional development and education; for a clear brand and identity; and more. Perhaps more so than in earlier times, there is a sense among small arts groups of competing with larger organizations, with each other and with other nonprofit sectors – and of being cut out of the limited and diminishing funding pie in Milwaukee.

The Helen Bader Foundation is pleased to help fund the study, and in mid-September, more than 28 small arts groups and five local funders met at the Foundation to develop strategies to help small arts groups grow capacity. Committees were created to work on particular issues (space, joint marketing, increased volunteer pool, and an endowed arts fund for arts groups with budgets of $100,000 or less, etc). The larger group is scheduled to meet again early in 2013 to present its recommendations.

There are hundreds of dynamic arts groups in southeastern Wisconsin. Who do you think is doing great, unheralded work in our community?

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