strategy

Using what we know to guide what we do

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by Doug Waddill “I know, I know, I know…oooh oooh, call on me, I know…”  We have all been in classes with THAT guy or girl.  The “know it all.”  As a former teacher, I was always amazed at that stereotypical kid that had to be first and had to know it all.  Usually when […]

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Honoring crossroads

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by Kiesha Davis This summer as we closed out the last learning session for leaders of youth serving music organizations in our Institute for Nonprofit Excellence (INE), a capacity building model developed as an approach to supporting the organizational development goals, we offered a panel discussion on nonprofit operational practices.  Over the prior months, cohort participants […]

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Shifting from pain to promise

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by Rhonda Broussard What if solving for pain points isn’t good enough?  From product designers to UX/UL to social entrepreneurs, we’ve been trained to get close to the problem.  Bryan Stevenson urges us to get proximate to people so that we can really understand their pain.  Last year, we worked with Memphis Music Initiative (MMI) […]

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Equity and inclusion ain’t easy – but it needs to happen

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by Sam O’Bryant  Since 2011, I have worked on projects and initiatives that have deliberately and intentionally discussed the role of race and equity in America. My work has included planning regional conferences on racial healing in the American South, hosting community conversations on race in the Delta, and even promoting black male achievement within […]

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Arts, equity and social justice: Americans for the Arts Conference

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Hot, sunny, and beneficial would be the best way to sum up my experience in San Francisco. The Americans for the Arts Conference was held in the beautiful Bay Area from June 14-18. My experience in San Francisco was not typical according to locals that I encountered because of the extreme heat (90 degrees plus!); […]

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Teaching artists and purpose threads: Lincoln Center Education Summer Forum

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During the Spring semester of 2017 MMI’s then In-Schools Director, Lecolion Washington, issued a simple request: Attend a workshop and/or conference that will enhance your work. At this point I had been to a few conferences and although they broadened my perspective of the national arts engagement field I wanted something more focused on the […]

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Building consensus and buy-in with schools

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A conversation with Janet Thompson Let’s start with the strategy and how it’s evolved. Can you talk about how you’ve approached building relationships in the schools and how that approach has developed this year? When I came on board with MMI, I really felt that my first priority should be to extend the reach of […]

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From the cohort: PRIZM Ensemble

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by Roderick Vester As a pianist, I have always been fascinated with the tuning process. Piano tuning is complex. It doesn’t simply consist of placing stress on the strings and aligning the intervals for correct tonal qualities. Piano tuning requires assessment. And while there is an equal tempered scale, each piano is different and unique […]

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Cohort one, year one: INE in action

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by Doug Waddill There are invisible lines everywhere we go.  There are boundaries of cities, states, and counties that are real, but they cannot be seen with the naked eye.  There are more figurative “lines” that occur as well.  For example, when one moves from hungry to full or from a run to a sprint.  […]

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Our strategy: introducing the Institute for Nonprofit Excellence

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by Kiesha Davis With a multitude of challenges, the nonprofit sector working with community to support those needs are often pushed beyond their own capacity to do so. Sector leaders, and those all to often focused on serving communities of color, are routinely faced with a barrage of competing interests calling for their attention and […]

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