January 2018

By Jill McMillan

Creatives’ Day 2017; Photograph by Elizabeth Ratliff

Starting a new venture can be daunting. Whether it’s a new job, a new relationship, or even a new sandwich at your favorite restaurant, trying anything new in life comes with potential risks. However, when it comes to your creative endeavors, the Arts & Business Council hopes to remove possible obstacles and reduce risks through our new program: fiscal sponsorship.

Like an incubator for the creative sector, the Arts & Business Council recently launched its fiscal sponsorship program in order to further support and grow Nashville’s creative community. Through fiscal sponsorship, we are able to offer our legal status to qualified projects and emerging organizations that align with our mission and may benefit from tax-exempt status and administrative support.

This alternative to starting your own nonprofit, or interim solution while waiting for your organization’s determination to come back from the IRS, is a great way to test the waters before striking out on your own. Fiscal sponsorship can give you time to see if your idea works, and it can also give confidence to potential funders who are often reluctant to support brand-new nonprofits. Often, the most valuable advantage is that it allows your project to receive many of the benefits of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, such as seeking grants and soliciting tax-deductible donations. Through our program, the Arts & Business Council also offers valuable guidance about nonprofit governance; assistance with report filing and recordkeeping; and access to our other services, including Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts, Education for the Creative Community, and more.

Brian Somerville at Creatives’ Day 2017; Photograph by Elizabeth Ratliff

The Arts & Business Council currently sponsors approximately ten Nashville-based creative projects and recently reopened applications for the program. A project currently thriving under fiscal sponsorship is Creatives’ Day—Tennessee’s largest celebration for creatives and organizations that support Tennessee’s creative economy. Brian Sexton, Chair of Creatives’ Day, explains: “The fiscal sponsorship program that the Arts & Business Council offers gives us a platform to focus on meeting our mission without having to deal with the stress that comes with building an emerging nonprofit by ourselves. It also feels good to know that we have a partner like the Arts & Business Council that ties their success to our success through mentorship, training, and the sharing of community resources.”

Do you have a creative endeavor that you’re hoping to get off the ground? Fiscal sponsorship may be the perfect spark to ignite your new venture. Learn more about fiscal sponsorship and submit your project through the Arts & Business Council’s website at abcnashville.org.

Jill McMillan; Photograph by Ethan Palm

Jill McMillan is the Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, where she is thrilled to serve the cultural sector at the intersection of arts and business. You can reach her at jmcmillan@abcnashville.org.


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