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No support given for fundraising outlook in report for Minnesota Orchestra

I want to call attention to a recent statement from the Minnesota Orchestra’s Board of Directors because I think it explains part of the problem surrounding this labor dispute.

In a recent Star Tribune ad the board ran this quote from the AKA/Strategy report: “It is unrealistic to think the Orchestra can fundraise its way out of its current financial difficulties.” (Page 9)

Clearly the board is behind this statement since it paid good money to set it before the public.

I think there is a key flaw in the statement: Nowhere in the report does the author provide any support for it.

The closest support I can find is two statements found on Page 13.

  • “There MAY (emphasis mine) well be limitations of the orchestra’s current donor and prospective donor pool.”
  • “Donor fatigue and distress over the cancellation of the 2012-13 season the evident inability of the Orchestra and the union to amicably and promptly reach agreement on the new financial terms MAY (emphasis mine) cause some donors to hold back on their support Other donors MAY (emphasis mine) be concerned that the Orchestra was not a thoughtful steward of its endowment funds.”

The key word used in each sentence is the auxiliary verb MAY. “May” doesn’t support any assertion as fact; it only suggests a possibility of a given outcome, i.e. might happen, might not happen, we don’t really know.

Using the AKA/Strategy report’s own words, there MAY be several other potential outcomes that deserve equal consideration and analysis.

The board has yet to realize that every word coming from it will be analyzed, parsed and picked over. The days of statements being handed down from Orchestra Hall like stone tablets are gone. Until the board gets this there is no chance for the situation to improve.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/12/2013 - 04:23 pm.

    In other words,

    the Board can’t do it’s main job.

  2. Submitted by Amy Adams on 09/13/2013 - 02:19 am.

    “The board has yet to realize…”

    “…that every word coming from it will be analyzed, parsed and picked over…”

    It would be so much easier for the board if we’d all just assume they’re right and quit quibbling over tedious details like dollars. Millions and millions of dollars.
    Enjoy that chilly looking re-vamped lobby, board and management. Corporate gray is very flattering.

  3. Submitted by MaryAnn Goldstein on 09/13/2013 - 08:34 am.

    “every word coming from it will be analyzed, parsed and picked o

    Indeed. Those of us who have been carefully been watching the MN Orchestra lockout debacle learned this lesson a long time ago from Minnesota Orchestra Association President/CEO Michael Henson…

    Remember this one from Mr. Henson’s January 2010 legislative testimony for that $14million in state bonding money for the Hall lobby renovation re: the state of the Minnesota Orchestral Association finances, “On the financial front, we have announced balanced budgets over the last three consecutive years, and we are facing the current economic downturn with stability”?

    Sweet music to all of our taxpayers ears, right?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/13/2013 - 09:53 am.

      “state bonding money”

      refers to bonds issued by private organizations (such as the MOA) and backed by the state. There would be no cost to taxpayers unless the MOA defaults on its financial obligations. And bond holders usually have first call on corporate assets when the corporation goes bankrupt.

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