Now available! Creative Trust’s Open Source Tool Kits

By Melody Mui and Jini Stolk

We’re delighted to announce that Creative Trust’s most important internal documents and materials are being made freely available to anyone who wants to use, adapt or study them. Our first three Open Source Tool Kits, on Exploring the Feasibility, Grants and Awards Processes, and Expanding the Mandate are now on our website. They will be especially helpful to organizations or collectives developing initiatives to improve the strength and sustainability of their memberships and communities – or anyone contemplating or planning a major new program.

The Tool Kits grew out of Creative Trust’s commitment to share our approach and learning – providing ideas and examples for other arts and non-profit leaders to explore and borrow from. Our deeply rewarding relationship with the Toronto Arts Foundation, through the Creative Trust Research Fellowship, has allowed us to develop these Open Source kits.

Each Tool Kit is a compendium of documents that reflect the most significant thinking and activities in the success of Working Capital for the Arts.

Exploring the Feasibility – covers the one year process (2000 – 2001) of studying the feasibility of starting up a major long-term capacity building program for Toronto’s mid-size music theatre and dance companies: includes project work plans, values and vision statements, financial analyses, interview surveys and results, early program development, and the Feasibility Study Final Report.

Grants and Awards Processes – includes financial Agreements with companies admitted to the Working Capital for the Arts program; processes for release of grants and awards for deficit reduction and working capital; approval and payment processes; and Outreach Initiative Grants Program description, application forms, policies and procedures.

Expanding the Mandate – covers the two year process of consultation and exploration of the possibility of expanding our mandate beyond Working Capital for the Arts to include other core elements of capacity including Audiences and Facilities Development; strategies, process documents, interim board reports, and detailed strategic initiative plans are included.

Five more Tool Kits are in the works for release later this year, on topics including creating the program, developing the organization, collaborative fundraising, governance and board policies and more. We hope these Kits offer inspiration and valuable ideas to others as they work to develop creative new ways to improve the capacity and sustainability of arts and nonprofit sectors and communities.

The Creative Trust was formed in 1998 as a collaborative endowment fundraising initiative, and in late 2002 launched Working Capital for the Arts, the most in-depth, multifaceted and successful arts sustainability initiative in Canada. It grew between 2003 and 2012 to include the Outreach Program, Audiences Project and Facilities Initiative. Creative Trust raised almost $7 million from private and public donors for this work, and distributed almost $4 million directly to 21 mid-size performing arts companies. An additional 40+ companies also participated in the Trust’s many workshops and professional development activities.

Creative Trust’s complete records and documents are available at the University of Guelph’s Library’s Archival and Special Collections Department.

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