United Arts chief – Fundraising challenge

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Eleanor Jordan, managing director of the Raleigh Little Theatre for 10 years, has been named president and CEO of United Arts of Raleigh & Wake County.

Jordan, who begins her new job Jan. 7, succeeds Margot Knight, who resigned this fall to become president and CEO of United Arts of Central Florida in Winter Park near Orlando.

Jordan says United Arts faces the immediate task of weathering the current economic slump, and the larger job of building awareness about its work.

Another big challenge for local arts groups, she says, is learning to cope with big fund drives by statewide arts groups based in Raleigh.

“What’s new is a much more aggressive fundraising stance from those entities out of necessity,” she says.

The North Carolina Museum of Art and the North Carolina Symphony, for example, each is considering a capital campaign that could total $100 million.

She says many Triangle arts groups have teamed up informally and effectively, adding that the arts community could benefit from regional cooperation.

Jeff Stocks, president and CEO of Manpower and chairman of the United Arts board, says Jordan is a strong leader with close ties to the arts community and will help boost fundraising during tough economic times.

He also says Jordan will help United Arts “look at regionalism on a more effective basis.”

Jordan, who was a volunteer at the Raleigh Little Theatre for 17 years before becoming managing director in 1991, oversaw a three-year capital campaign in the mid-90s that raised more than $1 million.

The group, which has increased its annual budget to more than $700,000 from about $400,000 in 1991, instituted an annual campaign.

The campaign has raised three-fourths of its $17,000 goal but may find it tough to meet the goal because of the economy, Jordan says.

She will take the helm of United Arts as it prepares to launch the public phase of its annual fundraising campaign.

The campaign, which aims to raise $800,000 privately, up from $782,688 raised last year, already has secured roughly one-third of the $377,000 it is looking to corporations to contribute.

The campaign kicks off its workplace drives in January and launches its public phase Feb. 15.

The campaign chair is Bob Greiner, chairman of the northern division of Belk Inc.

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