Dear CultureSource Members,

Why are we an alliance?

At the annual Mackinac Policy Conference two weeks ago, I found myself constantly being asked, why does CultureSource exist, by a range of statewide policymakers and businesspeople who were mostly unfamiliar with our arts and culture sector. These were not easy conversations.

You, though, get it—and you are proving it through your engagement. Our membership when I began as executive director in the fall of 2017 averaged about 92 organizations. By the end of 2018 we surged to 154 members organizations and have remained near there (149) now in mid-2019.

As I've reflected on your membership, it is my sense that you have remained or joined because of our efforts to offer programs that support and unify our alliance. Our monthly "meat and potatoes" workshops for all members are focused on fundraising and marketing, and those sessions are complemented by special convenings that bring together people of similar job types or creative interests.

I do hope that beyond an enjoyment of our services, you remain a member of our alliance because of an underlying belief in networks.

This past Memorial Day I started a subscription to the Washington Post—hooked by the $25 per year holiday special rate. That paper's motto, which appears every time I open the digital app, is "democracy dies in darkness." In WaPo's vision, democracy is sustained by participation, through vigilance and small contributions.

Our alliance—aligned with the WaPo ethos—formed because in the early 2000s, our sector missed out on opportunities that might have been realized if we were better aligned, internally and publicly.

Our pitch to you will continue to be that membership and alliance engagement is worth giving up a little of your work day, a little of your revenue, a little of your mental resources for both you and your peers' success. (What's that saying about boats in a tide?) Both the upcoming visit of the National Endowment for the Arts to Southeast Michigan and the project reimagining Detroit's Cultural Center highlight the potential of networked action to generate excitement, visibility, and positive progress.

I appreciate you being a CultureSource member, and our team enjoys and is inspired by our connections with you. As always, please let us know what more we might be able to do with you or your team.