Over the past five years, Helicon has partnered with the Nonprofit Finance Fund to manage the Leading for the Future Program (LFF), a national initiative funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. LFF program was designed to enable 10 artistically excellent organizations to undertake innovative strategies in response to a rapidly changing environment. All were offered the opportunity to use large-scale financial investments to enhance their programs and generate reliable recurring revenue. A major component of the program was the use of change capital – funding to enable the organizations to realign revenues with the full costs of their operation, and generate reliable surpluses beyond the term of the investment.
As part of its work with NFF, Helicon helped write two monographs – Case for Change Capital in the Arts, and Change Capital in Action: Lessons from Leading Arts Organizations—as well as a “tip sheet” for funders and organizations to use as a quick reference guide. These publications review key principles of capitalization for nonprofit arts organizations, provide profiles of the work conducted by participants in the LFF program, and provide handy reference tools. These tools can help cultural organizations analyze and improve their capital structures, and can advise funders who want to help cultural organizations improve their financial health.