“Redeveloping” Corporate Governance

This post is by Lesley Rosenthal of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Once-in-a-generation capital projects at nonprofit cultural institutions require heightened involvement by trustees. Because major projects impose unusual legal, financial, risk management, and other obligations on charitable organizations, the familiar principles of not-for-profit good governance become amplified and require even greater attention. What special obligations do trustees have to help their organizations manage such an undertaking? What are the broader impacts of the project on the organization as a whole—on its balance sheet, on its institutional identity, on its program and its future plans? If the project is funded in part or in whole with public funds, or if the project involves acquisition of or changes to publicly owned or accessible spaces, how might trustees facilitate needed communications with the public and with government officials? How should trustees, staff, and government work together to see the project through to successful completion and operation?

Because of the dearth of study materials pertaining to governance of mature not-for-profit institutions in a time of growth and transition, it is exciting to have access to documents and individuals that detail how governance matters are handled during a major capital project at one of the nation’s most respected institutions. My article, entitled “Redeveloping” Corporate Governance Structures: Not-For-Profit Governance During Major Capital Projects, discusses in detail how the Board of Directors of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has risen to the challenges of major capital projects, and assesses the performance of the organization’s governance practices under evolving standards, with special attention to how those standards play out during a time of institutional transition.

The article is available here.

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