On Wednesday, we started off the morning at a Fellows Learning Session at the Columbus Foundation. Douglas Kridler, the President and CEO of The Columbus Foundation, spoke with us about all of the great things going for Columbus, including low unemployment and really incredible growth. Mr. Kridler turned next to the the challenges facing the city, such as the high poverty rate and a large homeless population. I was pleased that Mr. Kridler presented such a balanced view of the city, and this deep consideration of all of the facets of the city is–I think–what makes The Columbus Foundation so influential: they celebrate the good while also figuring out ways that everyone can join the party, not just those currently benefiting from the city’s growth.
Following Mr. Kridler’s presentation, we welcomed Jason Moore, Principal of Fulcrum Creatives, a firm that designs and manages non-profit brands. He spoke about aligning internal perceptions of an organization with an audience’s perception. He asked us to consider three questions in relationship to our host site:
- What do you do?
- How do you do it?
- Why does it matter?
The next step is to see how the answers to these questions align with the mission and vision of the organization. It’s a very simple set of questions, but I think they lay out the basics of an organization: services, implementation, and the purpose of it all.
We spent lunch at Economic Community Development Institute (ECDI), where Summer Fellow Bryn Webster is placed. ECDI’s commitment to “invest, educate, and innovate” by providing loans, classes, and programs like the Food Fort and the Women’s Business Center is really inspiring. I love to see how non-profits in Columbus are using creative, relationship-focused solutions to remove barriers to success for people in our city.
Back at Actors’, we’re dealing with the effect of the rain on our attendance numbers. It’s reminded me that no matter how organized you are, how much advance planning you’ve done, no matter how awesome your marketing and business plan, or how wonderful the show is, there are always going to be circumstances outside of your control, and when those arise, you have to roll with them. I’m finishing this post as our show goes on tonight, despite a power outage late this afternoon and the threat of rain this evening. Most non-profits face unknowns and uncertainties at times, but due to the wiles of weather, ATC lives with them throughout their whole summer season. I admire our actors and crew, who get here every Thursday through Sunday at 6pm to whole-heartedly prepare for the show, no matter what the weather, and the optimistic audience members who show up with rain gear and umbrellas–just in case. The “show must go on” spirit that unites our audiences and actors has almost enough force to chase the rain away.