October 4, 2019
Dear MusicNL Members,
Why are there no professional musicians on the board?
- There was no conscious choice to exclude professional musicians on the Interim Board. The types of challenges facing the organization drove quick action to augment the board by choosing Individuals seen as able to move quickly and impartially in a time of significant upheaval. Professionals were required with experience in the arts community, an understanding of membership-based not for profit organizations, funding, and governance.
- The Interim Board understands that going forward there will be a need to ensure the representation of professional musicians on MusicNL’s Board of Directors as well as regional representation.
How long will the interim board be in place?
- The Interim Board came together after the previous chair reached out to Business & Arts NL in the Winter of 2019 to seek advice and assistance on MusicNL’s organizational challenges. The Interim Board was constituted on April 30, 2019, with first meetings in May 2019. This was intended to be a short-term measure in order to stabilize the organization and restore confidence in funders and the bank. The original plan was to transition away from the Interim Board in the Fall of 2019.
- However, the Interim Board was not aware of the extent of the financial troubles facing the organization. Its job has been-and continues to be-much more challenging than initially thought. It remains vitally important that MusicNL and its Interim Board maintain stability and continue to foster the confidence of the funders and lenders.
- That said, the Interim Board does not want to entrench itself in the organization in the long-term. The Interim Board recognizes that it is important to MusicNL to have board members in place with industry and professional expertise that includes working musicians represented across the province.
- The Interim Board also appreciates that there is significant experience amongst the members of MusicNL, and that within the community there are individuals with skill sets and knowledge who could assist the organization moving forward. The Interim Board would value contributions from such members.
- When the Interim Board feels that it is on stable ground with respect to the financial situation of the organization, we will be circulating Expressions of Interest to the membership to gauge interest in joining the board. We will be looking for individuals who are focused on the future of MusicNL and whose skills will expand the knowledge and strength of the organization as a whole. New board members would be willing to commit the time and energy required to move the organization forward.
Have you considered fundraising to deal with MusicNL’s debt?
- The Interim Board understands that fundraising is a possible solution to helping with MusicNL’s debt. However, at this time the Interim Board is fully engaged with the financial issues of MusicNL and ensuring that it can carry out the vital components of the organization’s mandate. The last number of months have been a significant learning curve for the Interim Board involving significant time spent with auditors, bank, funders and business operations. Moreover, MusicNL’s staff has been reduced as a result of the financial situation. Although the Interim Board understands that fundraising is a potential avenue for dealing with the debt, it does not have the human resources needed to examine or execute fundraising possibilities.
- We are open to the suggestion of the members as to ideas for raising funds to address MusicNL’s debt. In addition to ideas, we would appreciate hearing from members who are interested in assisting on a fundraising committee or on specific fundraising initiatives. Please send an email to email@example.com if you are interested in volunteering for a fundraising committee or assisting MusicNL in fundraising.
- As a provincial and member-based organization, the extent to which you can offer your time and ideas to assist MusicNL in moving forward, is greatly appreciated as it betters the music community and the organization itself.
How do you plan to restore the faith of members and the business community in MusicNL?
- The board is focused on creating stability for the organization in the interim with efforts towards a short-term balanced budget and plan to reduce the deficit over time.
- The board has engaged with funders and lenders in order to gain their trust.
- The board has chosen to have open communication with members (through these updates) and remains committed to answering the questions and concerns of members.
- Music NL is engaging with affected businesses as needed.
- Next steps in the process will be to 1) Strengthen policies and procedures of MusicNL, and 2) Revisit the constitutional documents of MusicNL in order to ensure proper oversight going forward and that these problems do not reoccur.
The Interim Board understands the vitally important role that MusicNL plays for musicians of our Province. We want to reassure you that we take the job ahead of us seriously and that we would be grateful for the assistance of our members and the community in general.
Understandably, you may still have questions about the financial situation of MusicNL and the implications of the situation on the organization and on yourselves as members. We encourage you to submit any questions by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please understand that we will not be answering each individual email, but we will strive to answer your questions as a collective in the next communication. We will continue to release information as it is available.
On behalf of the Interim Board:
Amy House, Chair
Ann Anderson, Board Member
David Smallwood, Board Member
Marlene Cahill, Treasurer
Thea Morash, Secretary
With Special Advisors to the Interim Board:
Tauna Staniland, Legal Advisor (Partner—Stewart McKelvey)
David Hood, Financial Advisor (Retired Partner—Grant Thornton)
Melanie Martin, Funding Advisor (Manager of Culture—The Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador)