A community jewel

Doug Wood values Arts United

Doug Wood, photo courtesy of PNC Bank

A year ago, Doug Wood knew Arts United was, as he put it “a real important part of the community.”

Today, the regional president of PNC Bank for northern Indiana and Arts United board member is talking in terms of how wide a reach the 60-year-old organization has developed.

“Now I think this is actually much broader in scope,” he said. “We believe Arts United influences the region, not just the city and the metro area.”

Wood calls Arts United “a community jewel” and remarks about how few other communities have similar united arts fundraising foundations. He notes how many people participate in Arts United-related programs and activities from throughout the region and all over the region.

“It’s key to having a vibrant region economically and in quality of life,” he said, “and so people can attend and participate. We’ve got a world-class organization here.”

He’s obviously proud that Arts United has embarked on work toward a new five-year strategic plan. He is on the board task force leading the work with the help of a top national consultant.

“We could have done our own strategic plan. We have a strong board and good community involvement,” he said, “but we felt it was time to do a fresh perspective.

“It’s a defining moment for Arts United, time to take a real, strong self-assessment and look at best-in-class practices from similar organizations.”

He notes, with probably a little pride, that it may not be a simple matter to find similar organizations. Few, if any, cities comparable to Fort Wayne have an arts foundation as established or successful as Arts United.

But the work of planning for the next five years will involve lots of deep conversations with as many people from the community as they can engage. And those conversations will be very valuable, he said, so valuable he’s very appreciative that Arts United leadership is not rushing through that stage of the work.

“The process is where the value really is,” he said.

Once the new goals are set, Arts United will return to the people it spoke with earlier to talk again about those goals, he said. “There’s not a better way to jump-start a five-year plan.”

Fourth of six celebrations of Arts United’s 60th anniversary

Editor’s note
As it conducts its annual fund drive and celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2015, Arts United, the third-oldest united not-for-profit arts fund in the United States, has just successfully completed one strategic plan (you can see it in the busy Arts Campus on East Main Street and everywhere else its partner and member arts groups are at work) and is preparing for the next. To celebrate, it is saluting the work of six of its founders. Fort Wayne Magazine is proud to join the celebration by profiling six of today’s Arts United leaders who are continuing the work by Living the Legend, once each month through June. This month, banker Jackson Lehman, president of Fort Wayne National Bank, was the inspiration for profiling today’s Arts United board member Doug Wood, who worked with Lehman on the English, Bonter, Mitchell Foundation board and who follows him as regional president of PNC Bank, which succeeds Fort Wayne National Bank. The two exemplify the theme of corporate responsibility.

Jackson Lehman 1931-2013
Jackson Lehman was instrumental in the creation of the English, Bonter, Mitchell Foundation as president of Fort Wayne National Bank. The foundation contributes more than $5 million each year to charitable organizations who support programs ranging from economic development to fine arts. It was this type of corporate responsibility that Mr. Lehman believed in and took action to make possible.

An invitation from Arts United
You can personally share in supporting over 60 arts and culture organizations in Northeast Indiana, enhancing the quality of life in our vibrant community. Give today at artsunited.org or by mailing your contribution to Arts United, 300 E. Main St. Fort Wayne, IN 46802. For more information on how to give, please contact Rena Burden, Director of Development, at (260) 424-0646 or rburden@artsunited.org.

First appeared in the April 2015 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.


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