Creative Trust Offers New Toolkits to Arts Organizations

The Toronto Arts Foundation's Creative Trust Research Fellowship ( is working to capture the experiences and learnings of Canada's most successful arts sustainability program and share them with Toronto's entire arts community

The mandate is to stay on top of the best research and practices in art-making and arts management, and shine a light on those organizations - in Canada and around the world - that are finding new ways to adapt and change to meet the demands of our fast-changing world.

The Creative Trust blog by Jini Stolk, the only broad arts management blog in Canada, features eclectic posts, based on practical observations around developing organizational capacity, audiences and facilities. It covers everything from the role of leadership to hiring advice; boards and governance; marketing and social media; fundraising; audience engagement and development; and more - and always links to outstanding resources online. Sign up here and consider asking your board members to sign up too, for a good overview of the challenges all arts organizations are facing.

This January 2014, nine new Open Source Tool Kits were published, containing practical examples and formats from Creative Trust that can be used or adapted by individual organizations or collaborative initiatives.

Collaborating to Build Facilities
Collaborating to Build Audiences
Creating the Program
Collaborative Fundraising
Exploring the Feasibility
Grants and Awards
Expanding the Mandate
Board and Governance
Developing the Organization

The Resources section of the Toronto Arts Foundation's Creative Trust Research Fellowship website generates lots of continuing interest and traffic, because of its carefully curated research and documents on everything you need to know about arts management.

Next year's Fellowship activities will include new initiatives on and with Boards, and some new work on capacity building and audience development with an emphasis on collaborative solutions.

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Toronto Arts Foundation

Toronto Arts Foundation, a charitable organization, provides the opportunity for individuals, private and public foundations, corporations and government agencies, to invest in and strengthen the arts in Toronto. We are powered by a vision: Creative City: Block by Block, a commitment to connect every Toronto neighbourhood to the transformative social and economic benefits of the arts. Through sponsorships, legacy gifts and donations to our Creative City Funds, Toronto Arts Foundation gives voice to the arts, shines the spotlight on Toronto’s exceptional talent, and connects communities to the arts. More about Toronto Arts Foundation

Creative Trust initiated this partnership with Toronto Arts Foundation to ensure that the legacy of collaboration, sharing and learning continues. The Fellowship allows Creative Trust to work with the Toronto Arts Foundation to expand the knowledge base and capacity building opportunities available to Toronto’s arts community through developing a wider network of learning. This partnership harnesses the shared values and professional expertise of Creative Trust and Toronto Arts Foundation to expand the creative and organizational capacity of Toronto’s arts community.

Creative Trust

Creative Trust was formed to strengthen the organizational health and sustainability of creative music, theatre and dance companies in Toronto. After completing a successful three-year drive to raise endowment funds, it began the Working Capital for the Arts program, which became a model for capacity building in the cultural sector. Over ten years, beginning in 2002, Creative Trust assisted over 50 mid-size and small companies to eliminate deficits, create working capital reserves and improve their governance, planning and management skills.

In 2008, Creative Trust began two new initiatives: helping companies undertake capital projects to upgrade and repair their aging facilities; and engaging companies in a comprehensive audience development program. Their goal, like the Working Capital program, was to ensure a thriving performing arts community whose work will continue to inspire audiences for years to come.

These programs have all now met their goals and have had many impressive successes, including creating a learning community committed to ongoing professional skills development. Creative Trust was always intended to be a time-limited initiative, and the organization wound up operations at the end of October 2012.

Jini Stolk, Creative Trust Research Fellow

Jini Stolk was cofounder and Executive Director of Creative Trust, an organization dedicated to strengthening the financial capacity and organizational potential of Toronto’s performing arts community. As the newly appointed Creative Trust Research Fellow at the Toronto Arts Foundation she will bring those 12 years of experiences and learnings to the City’s wider arts community. Before that, she was Managing Director of Toronto Dance Theatre, Executive Director of the Toronto Theatre Alliance/Dora Mavor Moore Awards (where she revitalized Toronto’s half-price ticket booth, T.O. TIX), Associate Director of the Association of Canadian Publishers and General Manager of Open Studio. She continues her involvement in many community and cultural advocacy activities, and is Chair and a founding steering committee member of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, and a director of the Centre for Social Innovation; she is Past Vice-President of the Toronto Arts Council and Past-President of Toronto Artscape, Hum dansoundart and Six Stages Theatre Festival, and was a member of the steering committee of ArtsVote Toronto 2010. She received the 2012 William Kilbourn Award for the Celebration of Toronto’s Cultural Life, and was a Sandra Tulloch Award and Harold Award winner.