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"It’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life."
- Oprah Winfrey

May 2018

Dear Art League Family,

Letʼs talk about not-for-profit organizations in my Director’s Corner this month. The Art League of Long Island is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization and is exempt from most Federal and most State taxes.

Whenever I interview an applicant for a position at the Art League I always share the benefits of working at the Art League. I tell them who we are, what we do and our mission. I also tell the applicant that the Art League is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization. Then I ask the applicant if they know what it means to be a not-for-profit? Almost always, they are not sure, tilt their head with a questionable look and take a guess that it means we donʼt have to make a profit. I’ve found this to be true regardless of age, education or status. It is especially true of most that have never worked in a not-for-profit.

The truth about not-for-profits, also referred to as nonprofits, does not mean no-profit. All not-for-profits should end up in the black. In the for-profit business world excess funds after expenses are called profits. In not-for-profits, excess funds after expenses are called surplus. Surpluses cannot be distributed to board members or to shareholders as may be a typical practice in a for-profit business. The Art Leagueʼs board is not paid and is purely volunteer and we donʼt have shareholders. However, we are all stakeholders.

Every not-for-profit strives to end its fiscal year with a surplus. A surplus is the result of how well the Art League managed its revenues from operations in relation to its expenses and how its cash flow supports its obligations. A surplus provides the flexibility for the Art League to have a reserve fund to put back into new programs or expand on others. A reserve is a necessary cushion that will be there should emergencies arise. Creating a surplus is always a challenge.

The Art League depends on revenues from tuition, memberships, donations, sponsorships, event and exhibition income and artwork sales. Expenses are overhead, payroll, taxes, supplies, maintenance, contracts, accounting, legal, insurance and unexpected emergencies. The cost of doing business increases year over year while the Art League tries to keep its tuition costs affordable for all to enjoy.

What about those who work in not-for-profit jobs? Most not-for-profit jobs are not plushy. Everyone that works in a not-for-profit realizes that they are wearing many hats. Teamwork is a must and a plus because most of us know we are going to be supporting one another in the day-to-day work that comes our way. The Art Leagueʼs employees are anything but kicked back, blasé and relaxed. We are a team of motivated, energetic, interested and creative people that come to work each day to do our best work to serve the Art League.

I always admire those individuals who choose to work in the not-for-profit industry. They seem to be the kind of people that are willing to work hard, give back and have an attitude of gratitude. Thanks to all of you who tell me you read my Directorʼs Corner and enjoy the stories and information. And thank you for supporting the Art League in so many ways. Wishing you a wonderful spring and summer that we have been waiting for.


Charlee Miller

Executive Director

Art League of Long Island  

"The arts are the best insurance policy a city can take on itself"
- Woody Dumas, former Mayor of Baton Rouge

March 2018

Woody has extensive understanding and appreciation for the role arts and cultural services play in a community. ​​​​​​​

Dear Art League Family,

This month I would like to talk about some of the value-added benefits and impact the Art League brings to you and the communities we serve. The Art League strives to bring exceptional services, programs and cultural experiences to all. Its offerings are many;  fine art classes for all ages and abilities, pre-college portfolio prep for high school students, community events and fine art exhibitions, summer art adventure programs for children and teens, art history lectures, special needs programs, live performances and more. All of these programs and events attract over 25,000 plus visitors each year.

The Art League’s services, programs and cultural experiences contribute significantly to the economic well-being of Long Island. We have a professional faculty staff of over 70 teaching artists during peak periods. Art teachers tell us that the Art League is their employer of choice. Our programs and events generate a great deal of event-related spending that benefit other businesses, attract business and community leaders, new residents and enhance the quality and beauty of our towns, villages and neighborhoods. The contributions the Art League returns to you can be measured in prosperity, employment and overall quality of life. If you haven’t given thought to how art as an industry contributes to the economy, here’s some information that may surprise you.

New data released on March 6, 2018 by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) reported that the arts contributed $763.6 billion to the U.S. Economy, more than agriculture, transportation or warehousing. In the U.S. the arts generate $370 billion in income and employs 4.9 million workers across the country. In New York alone, the industry contributed $114.1billion to the economy or 7.8% share of the total U.S. contribution.

Besides the abundant contribution to the economy, the Art League is a place where people gather, study art for enjoyment or very seriously, develop new friendships, share creativity and inspire each other. When you invest in the Art League by making a donation, taking a class, volunteering, attending an event, visiting the gallery or becoming a sponsor or business partner, you are in turn investing in yourself, your family and the communities where we live, work and play.

Thank you again for your support!

Warmest regards,

Charlee Miller

Executive Director

Art League of Long Island