As we reflect back on 2018, we are grateful for many things including the generous support we received for TACA this year. Because our work is made possible because of the extraordinary generosity of our community, we want to take this opportunity to share the successes we celebrate and the challenges we faced in 2018.
2018 TACA Successes
- The TACA Perforum: Amplifier Workshops, a professional development workshop series for local arts organizations covered topics like millennial audience engagement and racial equity – 102 people representing 52 local arts and cultural organizations attended.
- In September, an unprecedented $150,000 was awarded through the TACA New Works Fund thanks to the renewed support of the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund and new support from the Hersh Foundation and the Sapphire Foundation.
- This year’s TACA Perforum symposium centered on “Meeting Community Needs” and enjoyed record attendance, with 150 people in the audience and 125 more joining online via the livestreamed discussion on KERA’s Art&Seek.
We launched a new millennial engagement program for local companies called TACA Arts360° that uses a uniquely curated set of arts experiences – like behind the scenes tours and exclusive experiences with local arts organizations – that deepen the engagement of millennial professionals to both their employer and the community.
- For the first time in our history, TACA has integrated the visual arts into our grantmaking. The first unrestricted grants to visual arts organizations will be distributed as part of the Arts General Operating Grant distribution in early 2019.
2018 TACA Challenges
The beginning of 2018 was not easy for TACA. In recent years, we began to see signs that our business model required some updating to reflect today’s fundraising landscape. We’ve experienced increased donor fatigue and lower renewal rates. As you may know, we do not have an endowment or other consistent revenue streams to anchor our budget. This is uncommon in grant-making and service organizations and TACA’s annual Arts General Operating Grant distribution is simply our net income from the previous year. Given this operating model, our fundraising challenges have significant implications. While we provided $700,000 in unrestricted funding to 41 local arts organization in 2018, it was less than in previous years. To address these realities, we have been striving to change the way that we work and are guided by a new, forward-thinking strategic plan that emphasizes growing our membership base. Here are some actions we took in 2018:
- We reduced the number of annual special events from three to two – to create more capacity to invest in membership programs that drive growth and emphasize our mission.
- The annual Custom Auction Gala has evolved into the TACA Appreciation Dinner as a ‘thank you’ to TACA’s most dedicated and generous supporters.
- Our annual membership program, previously known as Board of Governors, was renamed to Arts Ambassadors and expanded to include a new, lower giving level to increase accessibility.
- We’ve increased our mission-aligned volunteer opportunities to offer supporters more ways to engage with TACA and our mission.
- We launched a unified giving option to streamline support and engagement.
As we look to 2019, we are excited to announce our 2019 Arts General Operating Grant recipients early next month and to unveil CultureBank Dallas: A Social Impact Fund at TACA. Development for this innovative new fund is currently underway in collaboration with SMU Meadows’ Ignite/Arts Dallas and CultureBank at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Our local arts community has depended on TACA for more than 50 years. It is our highest priority that we find ways to be more sustainable so that we can continue to deliver the support that the arts need in our city. As we strive to find our new way of working smarter and increasingly mission-focused, we appreciate our community and the passion we share with you in building a more vital and vibrant arts community in Dallas.
Carlson President & Executive Director