Over the past several weeks we’ve been working on putting our application for 501(c)(3) status together. In tandem with that effort, we worked on our What We Do page, which synthesizes our work over the past five months.
We met with major arts funders, stakeholders, peer organizations from other communities, and many others to find out the needs of the community, what opportunities exist to meet those needs and how we can best apply our core competencies to those opportunities. We adapted this Business Model Canvas to better fit the reality of C4 Atlanta becoming not-for-profit and applied what we learned to the canvas.
Ultimately, everything we do must work toward mission fulfillment. The mission we follow must not only express what we do, but it must also express our highest aspirations of what we aim to do. And at this early stage of C4 Atlanta’s development, it’s natural that our mission will evolve.
We reported recently through our Facebook page that we changed our mission. And we hope that this will give a more full explanation of the change.
Our old mission: “To cultivate a healthy, creative ecosystem dedicated to the continual advancement of sustainable artistry.”
Our new mission: “To build a foundation of research, technology and education for a sustainable, creative economy in the Atlanta region.”
Before, we had an idea of what we wanted to do, but not how to accomplish that mission. After working through our environmental scan, we reviewed our mission and saw that it already needed an update. (On a side note: if you poll enough consultants in the field, you’re likely to find just as many opinions on when a mission statement should be written and when it should come under review.)
The old mission made use of the word, “cultivate,” which is what the “C” in our name stands for. We made a conscious decision to remove that word from the mission, even as we are keeping what we call the C4 Model (more about that in a later post). We are still in our formative stages, so we must focus, instead, on building a solid foundation. The foundation is where we are starting — research, technology and education. These are the three core competencies found within the C4 Atlanta Action Team. For now, we must leave other community needs to others in the community.
We also, in what may seem to be a significant shift, removed the word “artistry.” This reflects part of our vision, another topic we’ll flesh out in a later post. Whereas before, we sought to “cultivate a healthy, creative ecosystem,” we now seek to “build a foundation … for a sustainable, creative economy.” This is a shift that moves us away from serving a sort of ethereal ecosystem and toward engaging in the more tangible act of economic development. To put it briefly, part of our vision is to see that the arts are more fully integrated into the Atlanta region’s economy, and that professional artists have a better chance at thriving in our region’s economy.
Our mission will continue to evolve over time — and we hope the evolution will be expansive. Today, our service area is the 24-county Atlanta region. Some day, we will likely remove the geographic scope of our mission. In addition to strengthening our existing core competencies, we hope to develop new competencies so that we may remove “research, technology and education” from the mission statement and become an arts service organization in a much broader sense of the term.