Let There Be Transparency: 14 Seasons Of ASO/WAC 990s

Adaptistration People 141During the Minnesota Orchestra lockout, one of Adaptistration’s most popular articles related to that topic was when I made more than a decade of the organization’s IRS returns available for download in one handy pdf file.

Typically, that info is secured under digital lock and key in my consulting resource vault but I’m already witnessing a good bit of not-so-healthy arm chair analysis based on incomplete or limited data so it is time again to dig deep and offer up the goods.

In this case, the financial document goodie bag contains fourteen (14) seasons worth of IRS 990s from the Woodruff Arts Center (WAC), the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s (ASO) parent organization; everything from the 1998-99 season through the most recently available filing from the 2011-12 season.

A Little Experiment On Motivation & Social Sharing

When the Minnesota documents were made available, they could only be accessed via a social share wall; meaning, you had to post a link to the article on your Facebook or Twitter account before you could access the download. This time around, I’m not going to place the file behind the share-wall and instead opt for an honor system that asks each person who downloads or shares a copy with friends or colleagues also takes the time to post a link to this post via your social networks.

Since the numbers of downloads and social shares for both efforts can be measured, I’m very curious to see which method produces the best download to share ratio. In short, is it better to require social action to access special data or will the honor system prevail?

[ilink url=”https://adaptistration.com/wp-content/uploads/Atlanta-Symphony-Robert-W-Woodruff-Arts-Center-Inc-1998-1999-through-2011-2012-IRS-990.zip?utm_source=ASO%20990&utm_medium=adaptistration&utm_campaign=ASO%20990%20download” style=”download”]Download the 41MB zip file and when you do, please use one of the social sharing links below.[/ilink]

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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11 thoughts on “Let There Be Transparency: 14 Seasons Of ASO/WAC 990s”

  1. Thank you Drew. I downloaded what you have but I had already been looking at the 990’s. I have not seen a specific line entry for a salary for Mr. Hertz or Ms. Hepner. Can you help with that? Also, how many orchestras have two board of directors in place like WAC and ASO?

    • Nonprofit board members do not draw a salary so you won’t find anything along those lines and Ms. Hepner did not become President and CEO until 7/1/2012. As such, her compensation information may only be in the most recent 990 in the pack, however, you can contact the WAC directly and ask for a copy of their most recent 990, which should be available by this point even if it has not yet been processed by the IRS or made available third party providers such as Guidestar or Charity Navigator. If the copy has been submitted to the IRS, the organization may not deny you an inspection copy. You can read more about this process by downloading http://0041464.netsolhost.com/nonprofit/NonProfitPublicInspectionRules.pdf

  2. Thanks for your response. I was shocked to learn that Ms. Hepner only makes around $176K (in 2011) but even more shocked to learn that Michael Shapiro, director of the High Museum, makes over $582K! Do you realize how many more musicians the orchestra could have with that kind of money!

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