Three Opera Companies: The Impact of Systemic Thinking & Funding
Arts and cultural organizations in the United States are noted for their ad-hoc approaches to 'business'. What this means is that arts and cultural organizations have a reputation for focusing (especially in their start up years) on the delivery of programs/products while neglecting their economic engine. These practices contribute to challenges nonprofit arts and cultural organizations face today, and threaten organizational viability and programs sustainability. To explore successful leadership models that counter the above shortfalls, this thesis presents an in-depth analysis of the systemic practices of three highly respected opera companies: The New York Metropolitan Opera, The Los Angeles Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. This analysis illustrates how non-profit organizations, can achieve financial stability and sustainability, which directly correlate to opportunities for enhance mission outcomes. The author, as a chair and board member of many non-profits, argues in support of appropriate training and open communication of funding systems and strategies, to increase leaderships' ability to make more impactful decisions and improve sustainable outcomes for the organization.