Gen Ops Plus to Strengthen Chicago Region Arts Groups

Sitting in a dark theater watching an amazing performance doesn’t bring spreadsheets and budgets to mind. It shouldn’t. Yet budgets and spreadsheets are an important part of what helps to keep arts organizations strong while all that beautiful art is made. The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation proudly supports more than 170 arts organizations – all with budgets under $1 million — in Chicago’s vibrant cultural arena. With a desire to help even more, we are excited to announce an expanded grant making strategy: Gen Ops Plus.

Over the last two years, we’ve talked with our arts grantees about their needs and used this feedback to shape Gen Ops Plus. We’ve heard loud and clear that general operating funds are lifeblood for organizations, and gen op funds will remain a core component of our grant making. What’s new is a roster of Plus offerings (organizational development opportunities) that include one-on-one coaching from staff and consultants, peer sharing, trainings tailored to grantee needs, and a new grant fund for a few, key capacity building projects annually.

Our Plus offerings will roll out over the next year as we continue to meet with technical assistance providers to garner input and think through what resources can best match the needs of small arts organizations. We are partnering with several fellow funders on some of the Plus elements and plan to share what we learn with our foundation peers.

The goal of all this is to help small arts organizations do what they do best: make great art and keep them doing it for a long time.

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