National Guild For Community Arts Education

About Banner

Forgot Password?

Enter your email below to help retrieve your password.


Forgot Password?
Home > About > News and Events > News > Member News > NPQ: Wisconsin Conservatory Business Model Thrives with Public School Partnerships

See what’s happening at the Guild, our members, and the Community Arts Education Field. Filter news items using the buttons below.

NPQ: Wisconsin Conservatory Business Model Thrives with Public School Partnerships

« Back

Image for NPQ: Wisconsin Conservatory Business Model Thrives with Public School Partnerships

Jan 22, 2018

A recent article in Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ) details how the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music (Milwaukee, WI), once on the verge of closure due to financial difficulty, moved “beyond crisis-fueled fundraising to develop a much more sustainable business model.”

In 2015, the Conservatory has considerable structural debt and it was forced to furlough staff. By 2017, a focused board campaign had allowed them to wipe out debt, but they were still faced with a highly uncertain financial future.

According to NPQ, Eric Tillich, CEO Of the Conservatory, “made finding new revenue streams a top priority. A partnership with the public schools provided a good part of the answer.”

The Conservatory Connections program now works with 11,000 students in 52 schools in six Wisconsin counties, according to Conservancy figures, including over 5,000 Milwaukee public school students. In two years, program income has climbed from $275,000 to $1.1 million, with Milwaukee public schools contributing about $400,000 of that total.

“We had a lot of amazing faculty that are trained and qualified that contribute to the creative economy here in Milwaukee and were ready to work, so it was a great match for us to have these faculty in schools,” notes Shalisa Kline Ugaz, executive vice president of advancement and education for the conservatory.

Read more about the Conservatory’s approach here.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education. www.nationalguild.org