CEO named – Headed Atlanta Ballet

By Todd Cohen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Robert Chumbley, former executive director and music director of the Atlanta Ballet, has been named president and CEO of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.

Chumbley, a high school graduate of the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem who received a master of music degree in piano from The Juilliard School in New York, served as artistic director of the North American New Music Festival and director of cultural affairs at Appalachian State University in Boone.

At the Atlanta Ballet, which he also served as principal conductor and composer in residencde, he managed a $9 million annual budget and three facilities.

The arts council has just wrapped up this year’s annual drive, which is $200,000 short of its $2.1 million goal.

A big challenge for Chumbley, who starts his new job Oct. 15 and was praised by the chair of the council’s search committee for his strong fundraising skills, will be helping the council generate bigger gifts and reach new donors.

“We have to have an honest-to-goodness development program that includes building endowment and planned giving,” says Audrey Edmonds Stone, who has served as interim president and CEO of the 51-year-old council, oldest in the U.S., since David Hudson left in February after 11 years to head the Regional Arts & Culture Council in Portland, Ore.

Stone, the council’s vice president of development and marketing, says this year’s goal was aggressive — up 5 percent from last year and 14 percent from 1999 – and the drive did well despite the sputtering economy.

Among 95 workplaces that generate 44 percent of the drive, she says, some larger campaigns posted big increases.

Wachovia employees, for example, gave $114,806, up from $103,011, while employees at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center gave $46,309, up from $39,172.

And while the percentage of employees in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools who donated fell to 33 percent from 36 percent, their giving grew to $73,951 from $72,504, and their participation far outpaced the mean rate of 18 percent for all workplace drives – meaning half the drives had greater participation and half had less.

Despite strong progress in individual giving, which last year hit $1 million for the first time, the council still has plenty of room to grow, Stone says.

In the past five drives, for example, while gifts of $250 or more grew roughly 30 percent, those of $1,000 or more were flat.

“We were very effective in the workplace campaigns and not as effective at major-donor solicitations,” Stone says.

To boost big donations, the council last year formed a committee to develop policies and prospects for planned gifts made through wills and estate plans.

The council also needs to identify new sources of corporate support, including entrepreneurs and tech firms, and to better train volunteers handling workplace campaigns, she says.

The annual drive, chaired this year by Eldridge C. Hanes, vice chairman of The Encore Group, finances 70 percent of the council’s $2.7 million budget.

The council gives operating assistance to 13 arts groups among its 54 members, and makes grants to support artists, member groups and special projects, and to link the arts to education and healing.

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