MW&A eNews     |    Winter 2019
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

There is something in the's starting to feel a bit like early 2007.  The market is undergoing more dramatic 'corrections' and with more frequency.  In the last quarter of 2018 donors put dollars towards elections and politically charged initiatives.  Real estate sales are slowing down.  Is it time to prepare for a tougher economy?

The good times are always great...until they aren't.  When the economy gets the sniffles, nonprofits tend to get pneumonia and it's time to start taking a few of the safeguard steps with your organization, that you are likely taking personally:
  • Shore up your organization's reserves.  Easier said than done, but setting quarterly targets based on budget analysis and annual funding cycles can provide even the tightest budget with the ability to save.
  • Discuss debt.  If you are well into your line of credit, start accelerating your pay down.  If you do not have a line of credit---get one.  This is actually an advantageous time to negotiate a line of credit.
  • Look more closely at your fundraising strategies.  It is critical to have short and long-term fundraising programs, but using a keen eye into what they are really costing you can help you determine what needs to be bolstered and what you may want to strategically abandon.
Similar to the beginning of last year, no one can predict what 2019 will look like.  We do know funding from foundations will continue apace this year, and likely into the first half of 2020.  But should the economy take a drastic downturn like 10 years ago, even philanthropic institutions will pull back to reassess their strategies.

In this ever-shifting philanthropic landscape, 2019 is going to be every bit as fast-paced and frenetic as the past few years.  Here at MW&A we are poised and ready to help you navigate through what promises to be a wild ride.

Warmest regards,

MW&A  Executive Placement Highlight:

A New CEO for the nationally renowned Pacific Chorale 
Closing out their 50 th year with an incredible legacy and a new artistic director, Pacific Chorale, one of Southern California's premiere music ensembles, prepared to launch into their 51 st year with great enthusiasm to introduce new and diverse audiences to the art form they love. As the year drew to an end, the Board of Directors turned to MW&A with a desire to assess their organization, explo re potential new funders and find a CEO to guide them through their strategic goals. As a recognized specialist in the field of nonprofit executive search and possessing an extensive background as a development consultant for premiere arts organizations, MW&A was poised to provide the board with the counsel they needed to advance the organization in the right direction.
Pacific Chorale 's Board Chair, Thomas A. Pridonoff 
"Working with Michelle and her team allowed us to be honest with who we are," said Tom Pridonoff, Pacific Chorale's Board Chair. "We have strengths and weaknesses like any other organization and there are areas where we need improvement. With MW&A's guidance, we took a very close look and saw what we really needed to lead our organization administratively."
During the search process, the board focused on a number of requirements, including the crucial importance of a harmonious working relationship between Artistic Director Rob Istad and a new CEO.  " The reality in organizations like  ours is that the artistic director has a vision and if their vision can't be realized, the artistic director goes where that can happen. The CEO must possess the business acumen to not only realize the vision but also sustain the viability of the organization. MW&A did an excellent job in making sure we found that match. Michelle understood how our staff works and was extremely helpful in offering candidates who would really fit with us,"  said Pridonoff.

MW&A presented a number of qualified candidates for consideration and the position was ultimately offered to Andrew Brown, formerly the Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.   Brown brought with him more than 17 years of experience with the LA Master Chorale, working in both operations and education, and although he felt like he was leaving family, he was ready to take the next step in his career. He  expressed gratitude to MW&A for their support during the search process.
"Michelle's knowledge of the Pacific Chorale's staff and organization was invaluable to me during the search process as it allowed me to come into the position with eyes wide open and excited for the opportunity," said Brown. " Michelle
Pacific Chorale's New CEO, Andrew Brown 
knows Rob and is astutely aware of his vision. This along with her understanding of my background, my skills and my similar vision allowed her to be a matchmaker so to speak. Her ability to facilitate the interviews, which included Rob, was absolutely imperative because of the importance of the rapport and the collaboration between the artistic director and CEO. And, I felt that instantly with him. A lot of that came from the fact that MWA brought out our strengths and interests, cutting to the chase."

Brown joined Pacific Chorale as CEO in early December, the busiest time of the year for choral performance groups and a time in which he felt was the absolute best for starting his career with the organization. "December is a very busy time in the choral world, so this was a perfect time to start and see the organization in action; to see what is working well and where we might need improvement. I'm ready to dig into the strategic plan that has been simmering, just waiting for the new CEO. We'll jump right into the frying pan so to speak," Brown said.

Pridonoff is also anticipating an exciting New Year. "For the board, the entire process went very quickly, we were at a place that we needed to get going and MW&A made that happen which we very much appreciated. Michelle and her team were reachable and willing to work with us efficiently and quickly to get the job from engagement to finish. I'm looking forward to see what the board, Andy and Rob will do to together to advance our organization. We are ready to fly."
MW&A (again!) exceeds $1 M for
Our Clients in 2018  
MW&A clients located in Los Angeles and Orange counties, the Bay Area and NYC are seeing increased Foundation gifts.

Here's a look at what we achieved from January - December 2018.

MW&A obtained the following grant for clients through Foundation outreach and grant proposal development.

New York Community Trust

$100,000 (NYC)
The Hearst Foundations

Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Bloomberg Foundation

Koret Foundation

L.I. Green Foundation

Orange County Community Foundation

Sharon D. Lund Foundation

DevTo Support Foundation

$25,000 (DC)
Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

L.I. Green Foundation

Albert & Elaine Borchard Foundation

O.L. Halsell Foundation

Western Digital Corp. Fund at The Silicon Valley Community Foundation

MW&A assisted clients in obtaining the following grants through Foundation outreach, introduction and stewardship.

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The Hearst Foundations

Education Foundation of America

The Hearst Foundations

The Ralph M. Parson Foundation

Koret Foundation

Annenberg Foundation

The Annenberg Foundation

MetLife Foundation
New  Clients   
Development Assessments  & Foundation Outreach

Welcome to our newest clients! 

It's MW&A's 25th Anniversary
1994 - 2019!  
It's been 25 years since I launched Michelle Whiting & Associates to provide development consulting to nonprofit organizations across the globe!

MW&A has shared our expertise with more than 200 nonprofit partners and conducted over 80 searches.  When I reflect on the individuals and organizations that have put their trust in us to help navigate the often-tumultuous world of nonprofits, I do so with a mixture of gratitude and pride.  Moving forward into 2019 and well beyond, our commitment to provide unequaled counsel will continue.  We hope you will turn to MW&A
when the need arises.