LEADING QUESTIONS Not-for-profit prez: 'Take a breath'

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Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of  “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” where IBJ sits down with one of central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about their industry and the habits that lead to success.

Keira Amstutz, 41, took the helm of the Indiana Humanities Council in April 2008, armed with years of experience as an attorney and the director of cultural development for the city of Indianapolis. In no time flat, the economy took a nosedive and the prospects for fundraising darkened.

In the video below, Amstutz discusses how the organization approached the challenge and reveals an almost counterintuitive tip for making a fundraising pitch.

The Council's somewhat esoteric mission is to develop programs and encourage discussion about Indiana culture in the context of history, politics, the arts, agriculture and other areas vital to Hoosier life. True to this thoughtful objective, Amstutz in the video below shares advice on a number of topics—including finding balance and avoiding overthinking—that could be boiled down to "take a breath."



  • Interesting Points
    Very interesting points.
  • Salary analysis of Humanities Council

    "Compensation of the Indiana Humanities Council's "current officers, directors, and key employees" on the 2007 tax return is listed as $684,178, which is 82% of the income received in 2007. That is 82% BEFORE considering any other administrative expenses of the Council."

  • Not-for-profit FLUFF
    Bloggers developed a program for discussion of humanity and our interests using a totally free, fully volunteer medium...the blogs! We gain perspective, communicate ideas, participate, do surveys, modify our future behavior, and dissect what happens i our city and state every single day. And we do this without collecting a single penny from the taxpayers.

    In fact, it can be argued that the blogging community was instrumental in creating the core communication vehicle during the 2007 property tax activism that caused our local government spending statewide to decrease $3.1 BILLION in 2010 compared to 2010. And overall we're spending more than $2 BILLION less than we did in 2006.

    On the contrary, we're scratching our heads trying to figure out where Ms. Amstutz delivers the return to the taxpayer investment.

    Perhaps that why it's so hard for her to get up the nerve to "ask for the sale" and then "pause". Maybe it is counter-intuitive for her to do so because on a gut level she knows humanity is getting fleeced.

    Paul Ogden, the attorney who blogs for OgdenOnPolitics.com, dissected the 2007 Humanities Council IRS Statement (the last one made publicly available) this morning and discovered that the salaries of this not-for-profit comprise most of its budget. Where's the 2008 IRS return? We'd like to see that one too! It should be published by now.

    He writes:
    "In the 2007, return $759,250 of the $832,324 in income that year came from government contributions. That's 91% for those of you scoring at home."

    As a taxpayer who pays more in taxes than ever before, this fluffy esoteric "Mission" doesn't sit well.

    I don't begrudge them their mission, I just don't want to pay for it.

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