Engage participants photographed by Gisele Parra Photography

Houston Endowment Renews Support for Engage

With a grant of $1.66 million, the Houston Endowment continued its partnership with M-AAA this year, supporting further development of the Engage program and M-AAA’s first satellite office in Houston. The three-year grant extends Engage Houston, which offers training in governance, finance, fundraising, and community engagement. M-AAA and Houston Endowment created the program together in 2011, after an assessment of the Houston region’s arts and culture community showed that leaders of small and midsize entities sought additional knowledge and skills to be more effective administrators.

“Our funding is an investment in our community,” said Ann B. Stern, president and CEO of Houston Endowment. “We try to place all of our resources where they will have the greatest impact. That means investing in efforts like Engage that can help build the capacity of not just one but dozens of small and midsize arts organizations that contribute to the vibrancy of our region. We have worked closely with Mid-America Arts Alliance to develop this program, and we share the same goal: to nurture a strong arts ecosystem in Houston.

“We are optimistic that a Houston office of M-AAA will not only increase the effectiveness of the Engage program but also give local arts organizations more access to M-AAA’s other resources,” said Stern.

“We are humbled to partner with Houston Endowment for a third round of Engage, allowing the program to deepen the impact of arts and cultural organizations that are wedded to public service, inspire participants to become active learners, and invigorate a renewed arts and cultural community that is instinctively cooperative,” said M-AAA President and CEO Todd Stein. “An office in Houston is an extension of our long collaboration with the outstanding arts and culture organizations of the region and our commitment to their continuing support.”

Prior rounds of Engage have already served more than sixty organizations from a variety of Houston arts and culture services.

“Engage provided a model and the tools that we needed to take ourselves to the next level,” said Eureka Gilkey, executive director of Project Row Houses, which began participating in 2015. “As a result of our participation, Project Row Houses has reached so many milestones—creating and distributing the organization’s first annual report, revamped governance documents and procedures, a daily working mission statement for our community-centered work—because of the cost-effective resources of Engage. Through our work with Engage, funders in Houston saw that Project Row Houses was a mature organization with the operational systems to match its culturally creative brainpower.”

All photographs taken May 2018 at the Engage Houston closing lunch. Images by Gisele Parra Photography.

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