Annual award recognizes region’s highest-performing nonprofits
ATLANTA – July 13, 2018 – Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta announces that Synchronicity Theatre and YMCA of Metro Atlanta are 2018 Managing for Excellence award recipients. A stalwart, highly competitive recognition among the 4,300 nonprofits across Atlanta’s 23-county region, Managing for Excellence recognizes operational innovation and effectiveness for a well-run organization and is given to both a small and large nonprofit annually. Through more than 67 years of work with nonprofits, the Community Foundation has identified key factors that drive an organization’s success and community impact—including board and staff engagement, sound fiscal health, investment in the organization’s talent and infrastructure, thoughtful evaluation practices and commitment to continuous improvement. Managing for Excellence launched in 1984 to recognize and reward nonprofits that exemplify these strong characteristics.
Recognized in the small nonprofit category (annual operating budget under $2 million), Synchronicity Theatre offers diverse programs that challenge the mind and build empathy through the creation of new theatrical work that empowers females. Founded in 1997, Synchronicity has a strong culture of planning, is forward-thinking and has become a critical component of Atlanta’s arts ecosystem.
“The Managing for Excellence award is humbling. Synchronicity Theatre’s board, staff, and artists work hard to connect purpose, passion and artistry on a daily basis,” said Rachel May, producing artistic director of Synchronicity Theatre. “Excellence is always our goal, as we engage, empower and uplift voices in our community. We do this while keeping our hearts set on collaboration and bridge-building.” She added, “This award is a powerful recognition of our 20 years of service to Metro Atlanta, and an affirming investment in our future. We are deeply grateful for this recognition of both our impact and our methods and will work to honor this gift with renewed commitment to our mission to uplift the voices of women and girls and build community through smart, gutsy, bold theatre. Thank you to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta for this truly transformative award.”
The Managing for Excellence judges noted that Synchronicity’s diverse array of theatrical productions have shown a 49 percent increase in individual ticket sales and an 81 percent increase in group sales since 2014. Largely due to the organization’s responsiveness to feedback, creative changes like pajama-friendly shows for families and thoughtful positioning of its theater as a venue for other artists and community groups have been incorporated. The organization manages a healthy mixture of revenue, including ticket income from performances, proceeds from renting out its venue, foundation funding and individual support, resulting in surpluses for the last three years.
“Managing for Excellence takes a close look at operational superiority from a broad range of criteria that are highly scrutinized by the judging panel,” said Lesley Grady, senior vice president, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “We’re not over analyzing programming in this particular review, but rather looking at a higher level, at their big-picture operations and best practices. Strong programming is important, and it naturally emerges when organizations are operating efficiently on all cylinders behind the scenes.”
YMCA of Metro Atlanta (YMCA) was chosen among large nonprofit organizations with annual operating budgets over $2 million. YMCA has served the Atlanta community for 160 years, promoting healthy lifestyles and equal opportunities to learn and grow. As Atlanta has grown, the YMCA has responded with new programs to meet the unique needs of children and adults, while demonstrating sound financial management, strong governance and a commitment to long-term strategy.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, we are grateful to be recognized as the 2018 Managing for Excellence award recipient by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta,” said YMCA Board Chair, Scott Taylor. “For 160 years, the Y has served the Atlanta community and has grown and evolved to meet the changing needs of our city. As we look to the future, the Y is committed to being a leading organization in advancing education, wellness and volunteerism to build stronger and healthier communities. We would like to thank the Community Foundation for selecting the Y to receive the Managing for Excellence award and for the Foundation’s leadership in creating positive impact throughout our city and region.”
Managing for Excellence judges emphasized how the YMCA has an expansive impact beyond what they are historically most often associated with, physical activity. They are making strides with summer programming that improves academic outcomes, building resources to provide financial assistance for access to facilities and activities, and all the while tracking and evaluating metrics identified in a 10-year strategic plan. Other strong points include a rigorous budgeting process and regular operating surpluses.
“Beyond strong, day-to-day operations, it’s critical that nonprofits look at the long game to identify and nurture talent so that they can continue to provide the programs that constituents need and respond to changes quickly,” said Karthik Valluru, partner and managing director for BCG in Atlanta. “For the YMCA, the review committee recognized its thoughtful monitoring of facilities and its engaged pipeline of staff and volunteers. For Synchronicity, it was the theater’s quick ability to secure new space in a recent move and willingness to experiment with innovative programming.”
Managing for Excellence applicants were ranked against competitive criteria of more than 80 characteristics and best practices to win the award. Following a two-phase formal written application and in-person site visit process, the review committee selected this year’s winners. Each organization receives a robust award package, including a $75,000 grant from the Community Foundation, consulting services from Managing for Excellence partner, Boston Consulting Group, participation in a nonprofit management class at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University as well as ongoing opportunities for recognition.
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About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Since 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been connecting the passions of philanthropists with the purposes of nonprofits doing that work. With 67 years serving the 23-county Atlanta region and a robust team of experts, the Community Foundation manages the behind-the-scenes details, empowering our donors to focus on the joy of giving. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation nationally with approximately $1.1 billion in current assets and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. Through its quality services and innovative leadership on community issues, the Foundation received more than $144 million from donors in 2017 and distributed more than $100 million that same year to support nonprofits throughout the region and beyond. In 2018 Charity Navigator named the Community Foundation a four-star rated nonprofit, its top distinction. For more information, visit: cfgreateratlanta.org or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Louise Mulherin, 404.405.1070