Administrative Partnership Models for Arts Nonprofits

Shared Staff, Co-Location, Program Transfers, and Mergers/Acquisitions

In a world of rapid leadership transitions and a wildly shifting fiscal landscape, nonprofit organizations are finding new ways to collaborate that promote organizational and artistic sustainability. Arts organizations often champion artistic collaboration, and this session will move the conversation forward by exploring models for administrative and structural collaboration, including shared staff, co-location, program transfers, and mergers/acquisitions. 

Kate Piatt-Eckert, director of The Mission Sustainability Initiative (MSI) at Forefront, will present this engaging program. Forefront serves the entire Illinois nonprofit sector, and this session will look at instructive examples from across the sector and explore how they can be put to use in the arts. Leaders and board members of arts organizations interested in exploring administrative partnerships, mergers, and other forms of strategic collaboration are encouraged to attend.

Topics & Learning Objectives:

  • Introduction to the range of administrative/strategic partnership structures.
  • Discussion of the “why” and “how” of strategic partnership development.
  • Exploration of the use of strategic partnerships as a tool for growth and sustainability and the unique opportunities and challenges of arts partnerships.
  • Review of the services and funding offered by the MSI.


About the Speaker:

Kate Piatt-Eckert, Mission Sustainability Director, Forefront

Kate Piatt-Eckert is the Director of the Mission Sustainability Initiative at Forefront. She has twenty years of experience in theatrical production and administration, most recently serving as Executive Director of Steep Theatre where she served on the boards of the League of Chicago Theatres and the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce. As the fifth generation involved in the operations of an historic house museum in central Ohio, Kate supports her family business as the CFO at Piatt Castle. She is driven by a desire to explore the complex intersections of art, community development, public policy, data-driven decision-making, and human-centered non-profit governance. Kate has a B.A. from Reed College and a Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University.