Thursday, March 22, 2007

Updates: Red Cross, Robertson v. Princeton, symphonies

Quick updates tonight on some subjects previously covered here:

The American Red Cross, it turns out, has to get formal permission from the U.S. Congress in order to reorganize themselves into a normal non-profit structure. That's because of the organization's special disaster-response status granted by Congress decades ago. It sounds like the legislators are receptive to the basic premise that the organization's outdated governance structure is the root of its recent troubles including losing three CEOs since 1999. The current board chair told a House committee that the proposed changes have helped lured some strong candidates for the job.

Princeton University has quietly (at least they wanted it to be quietly) reimbursed the Robertson Foundation almost $800,000 which the university can't bring itself to admit was used contrary to donor intent. (Rather, they say its because university officials failed to properly disclose the use of those funds.) This move has not taken any steam out of the huge lawsuit being pursued by the Robertson heirs; in the court of public opinion, Princeton just continues to shoot itself in the foot.

And the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has summarized its hard-earned knowledge about the state of symphony orchestras into a short "issue brief" which should be required reading for everyone involved in classical music today. They do not pull any punches, and their core messages continue to remind me of some of the existing thinking and practices in other fields such as non-profit theater and dance. "Classical music lovers are everywhere, but most of them are not in the local concert halls....Interest in the art form looks healthy. Yet orchestras are struggling to remain relevant in a rapidly-evolving cultural landscape...."


Anonymous said...

Princeton has forfeited its moral standing. Shame on the Ivy icon.

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