Engaging the Next Generation of Arts Leaders

On Thursday, June 14 the ArtsFund Visionaries, a young professionals donor network, hosted a networking happy hour themed on engaging the next generation of volunteers, board members, and leaders within the arts and cultural community at Ballard Pizza Company.

Attendees gathered to connect with each other and hear from panelists Krina Turner (Executive Director of Whim W’Him), Monique Courcy (Executive Director of TeenTix), and Kevin Malgesini (Managing Director of Seattle Children’s Theatre), moderated by ArtsFund Development & Engagement Manager, Chantilly Chiles.

TeenTix Vice Board President, Ariel Glassman (Nonprofit Consultant with the Ostara Group) shared, “Our society and community are undergoing profound shifts, and the arts are experiencing profound shifts too. One of the most important things a board can do is help that organization stay in tune with what’s happening in the communities who will be their future audiences and leaders. It’s really difficult for an organization to do that without voices that represent those communities on its board. The arts need younger people to step up, join boards, and help lead with the future in mind. The arts need you.”

The panelists offered attendees insight on their unique perspectives leading arts and cultural organizations as young leaders under 40 years of age. Krina Turner (Whim W’Him) urged attendees to become donors of organizations that are meaningful to them and leverage their skill sets as volunteers. “Chances are, the nonprofit you’re wanting to become more involved with needs your help!”

According to a 2017 BoardSource survey, under 17% of nonprofit board members are under 40 years of age. For young people who are interested in joining a board, it can be intimidating and there may be barriers to participation. Kevin Malgesini (Seattle Children’s Theatre) offered the group words of encouragement and practical advice. “Board culture is shifting and you can be a part of that process. It’s important to listen once you’ve joined a new board.”

Monique Courcy (TeenTix) works every day to empower young people and amplify their voice, and she feels their influence daily thanks in part to the TeenTix New Guard, which consists of 46 teens who are the “heart and soul” of the organization. Monique noted the positive impact of having young people represented on a leadership level for TeenTix and the broader community.

Attendees represent a growing demographic in the greater Seattle area. “Of the 13 most populous counties in the nation, King County in the Seattle metro area is second only to Brooklyn in the highest percentage of residents age 25 to 34, part of the biggest demographic wave since the baby boom, according to census data.”

Nearly all 40 guests in attendance expressed an interest in serving on a nonprofit board, further demonstrating the desire many young leaders have to become more engaged in the community. Guests of this event are affiliated with the ArtsFund Visionaries, a program designed to connect emerging leaders and young business professionals to our vision – a community where the arts are accessible to all and valued as critical to a healthy society.

Thank you to our panelists and special guests: Krina Turner, Kevin Malgesini, Monique Courcy, and Ariel Glassman. ArtsFund thanks Ballard Pizza Co. and ArtsFund Visionary, Aubri Margason, for their generosity. Heineken is the ArtsFund Visionaries preferred Beer Sponsor and wine was generously underwritten by Chateau Ste Michelle.

If you’d like to join or partner with the ArtsFund Visionaries, please contact ArtsFund Development & Engagement Manager, Chantilly Chiles at chantilly@artsfund.org.

Photos courtesy of Sam Fu Photo (@samfuphoto).