FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS
Executive Director, New York, NY
Since its inception in 1963, the mission of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA) has been to encourage, sponsor, and promote innovative work in the arts created and presented by individuals, groups, and organizations. FCA depends on artists and a diverse community of supporters from philanthropic individuals to like-minded foundations to the City of New York to fund its programs. To date, over 1,000 artists have contributed paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, performances, and videos to help fund grant programs that directly support individual artists working in dance, music/sound, performance art/theater, poetry, and the visual arts.Since FCA's inception, more than 5,000 grants awarded to artists and arts organizations, totaling over $20 million, have provided opportunities for creative exploration and development.
An example of FCA's responsive support for its community was the pivot on March 18, 2020, in response to the abrupt closure on March 13, 2020 of all arts venues around the country, of the FCA Emergency Grants COVID-19 Fund. Administered as a subset of FCA's longtime Emergency Grants program, and in partnership with a number of concerned funders and peers, the COVID-19 Fund was a resource for experimental artists whose performances or exhibitions were either canceled or indefinitely postponed because of the pandemic. FCA disbursed 1,398 grants totaling $2,796,000 through the COVID-19 Fund in 2020. Given the ongoing need, the fund remained open in 2021, and 137 grants, totaling $274,000 were distributed. Since the conclusion of the COVID-19 Fund in June 2021, FCA has been administering the COVID-19 Bridge Fund together with community partners to continue to meet the shifting needs of artists one year into the pandemic.
FCA remains the only institution of its kind: created and sustained by artists to benefit artists.
For more information about the Foundation and its programs, please visit https://www.foundationforcontemporaryarts.org/
Trusted by artists and reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will provide vision, leadership, and management with integrity to the foundation's overall operations and activities. The Executive Director will work closely with the Board and engage staff to establish priorities, refine areas of programmatic interest, and develop policies and procedures. They will uphold the foundation's commitment to make its programs available and accessible to artists of all backgrounds and ability. The Executive Director will be accountable for the following ongoing areas of responsibility:
- Provide leadership to the Board in carrying out the philanthropic mission expressed by its artist founders; protect the historical legacy of the foundation whilst pursuing the objectives that have been established by the Board and, over time, develop new responses to opportunities and challenges that arise;
- Work comfortably with diverse philanthropic approaches, including strategic grantmaking, collaborative efforts, capacity building, program-related investments and others; explore new intellectual frameworks and innovative ways of addressing issues, cutting across traditional boundaries of thought and action as called upon;
- Along with Board members, provide public leadership on critical issues related to the interests of the foundation; when appropriate, represent the foundation to its outside constituencies, articulating its values and raising awareness of its programs;
- Establish and nurture an organizational culture characterized by equity, transparency, joy, graciousness, creativity, and excellence;
- Monitor key trends and issues impacting the interests of the foundation; communicate implications to the Board, together with recommended action;
- Work collaboratively with institutions aligned with the foundation's values and mission;
Program Management and Administration
- Oversee four national grant programs and provide ongoing evaluation of their quality and effectiveness;
- Working in concert with the Board's legal counsel and accountant, oversee compliance with all local, state, and federal requirements, assuring that the foundation maintains its tax-exempt status and good standing as a charitable organization;
- Assure sound management of all foundation operations;
- Recruit, retain, entrust, support, advocate for and hold accountable a dedicated and diverse professional team;
- Continually assess the efficiency of management systems; effectively maximize use of Board members' limited time; likewise, assess and advocate for necessary human and financial resources to serve the foundation's constituents efficiently and with impact;
- Provide proactive and careful oversight of the foundation's investments; act with fiscal prudence and develop productive working relationships with the foundation's investment manager and Investment Committee to steward the foundation's quasi-endowment and restricted endowments;
Governance and Board Relations
- Take a leadership role in the implementation of Board philosophy and policies; develop, recommend, and monitor standards of performance and principles for the execution of the foundation's work;
- Make recommendations to the Board regarding the direction of the foundation's impact, operating policies, and grants; keep the Board informed of the activities and financial position of the foundation;
- Structure an open and participatory interface with the Board, encouraging the active involvement and leadership of Board members in accordance with their interests;
- Develop a means for continued Board education in applicable trends and areas of the foundation's grantmaking, the mechanics of foundation governance, and issues affecting the philanthropic community at large;
- Identify and cultivate potential Board members, as appropriate;
Development and Communications
- Lead the foundation's advancement efforts with individuals, foundations, artists, artist-endowed foundations, and other constituents through a multilayered strategy; engage with key stakeholders to raise awareness of programs and impact;
- Steward collection of donated work and related art, ensuring regular annual physical inventory audits and condition evaluation;
- Expand and diversify FCA's support base; develop and maintain relationships with contributors, prospects, foundation leaders, curators, gallerists, artists, art collectors, and others by raising awareness of FCA's programs and activities;
- Oversee planning and execution of special events, including annual grants receptions, benefit exhibition openings, VIP or press previews, luncheons, artist cultivation events as well as periodic anniversary galas and benefit performances as required;
- Guide and grow the foundation's public presence using both traditional media and new technologies, and through appropriate and consistent promotion of its programs and grants; allocate its resources effectively to support the work of its grantees through press placement and via FCA's existing communication channels;
- Along with interested Board members, serve as foundation representative and advocate to peer arts organizations, the foundation community, media, and professional associations.
The Executive Director should have the following experience and qualifications:
- Passionate about and fluent in the worlds of contemporary and avant-garde visual arts, poetry, and performance (dance, music, theater); familiar with and conversant in the work of the foundation's grantees;
- A demonstrated commitment to the core values and philanthropic philosophy of the foundation; strong analytical skills and knowledge of current issues, principal theories and strategies, leading thinkers and major concerns in arts and culture;
- Culturally competent with a professional track record of foregrounding values of diversity, equity, and inclusion;
- Demonstrated experience as a thoughtful risktaker with a consistent record of converting vision into action;
- A proven, pragmatic, and personable facilitator with experience successfully managing operations and the fiscal affairs of a private, nonprofit, or governmental entity; experience working productively with boards and external investment managers;
- Strong oral and written communications skills; capable of public leadership and vision as a foundation representative with existing networks and a reputation in good standing within the arts with, ideally, direct relationships with artists and the professionals who support them;
- Solid relationship-building skills; ability to cultivate and nurture partnerships with a wide variety of constituents;
- An understanding of the strategies and mechanics of grantmaking is a plus.
Applications and nominations should be sent to the attention of Sarah James and Becky Klein at FCA@PhillipsOppenheim.com.