Creative Trust Open Source Tool Kits

The Creative Trust Open Source Tool Kits are a compendium of processes, policies and program materials reflecting the most important thinking and activities in the success of Working Capital for the Arts. The Tool Kits grew out of our desire to share our approach and learning – providing ideas and examples for other arts and non-profit leaders to explore and borrow from, and are made possible thanks to our deeply rewarding relationship with Toronto Arts Foundation, through Creative Trust Research Fellowship. We hope they may offer inspiration and valuable ideas to others as they work to improve the strength and sustainability of their memberships and communities.

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


Collaborating to Build Facilities
Materials from the Facilities Initiative which raised awareness of the renovation and repair needs of Toronto’s small and mid-size performing arts facilities, including advocacy documents, deputations, collaborative infrastructure requests, and energy efficiency, environmental sustainability and accessibility projects.
Collaborating to Build Audiences
Collaborating to Build Audiences Addendum 1
Collaborating to Build Audiences Addendum 2
Creative Trust’s Audiences Project, launched in 2009, was the most in-depth and multifaceted community audience development initiative in Canada, engaging Creative Trust members in a 3-year in-depth learning process – from engaging and diversifying audiences; arts education and accessibility; data base and box office technology; to the use of social media – drawing on the most successful and best informed practices from our own city and around the world.
Creating the Program
This Tool Kit contains the critical paths, criteria and processes, program components, decision-making policies, and other details of Creative Trust’s Working Capital for the Arts and Outreach Programs, including the guiding principles which were at the core of our success.
Collaborative Fundraising
Collaborative Fundraising Addendum
Creative Trust’s collaborative arts fundraising initiatives – the Endowment fundraising campaign and the Working Capital for the Arts capital campaign – remain uniquely successful in Canada. This Tool Kit provides details on how each was conceived and carried out.
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
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.
Board and Governance
Covers the vigorous discussion Creative Trust had around each of these policies (how will Board and professional staff share the responsibility of achieving our mission and vision?; how can we firmly guard against conflict of interest with a Board including arts professionals, active arts volunteers and funders?; how do we ensure that our programmatic decision-making and grant-giving practices are transparent and fair?; how can we develop the profile and public trust necessary to achieving our funding goal?) proved the power and richness of a Board encompassing the experiences, perspectives and skills of senior arts managers and senior community and business leaders.
Developing the Organization
Creative Trust’s one-year Development Phase allowed us to develop the strong organizational infrastructure needed to support the Working Capital for the Arts program. Our tasks were similar to those of many start-up organizations. This Tool Kit contains details on our strategic thinking and work processes to develop a business plan and detailed extended budget; establish an office; hire staff and develop position descriptions and employment policies; identify, cultivate and involve board and advisory council members willing to participate fully in a major capital campaign; develop governance policies and practices; develop core communications, including vision and mission; develop a communications strategy and materials; and more.