Troyens

Troyens

Monday, December 30, 2013

Compare & Contrast 24

What Michael Bloomberg says and does:

  • "The business model doesn't seem to be working," he said about the fate of NYCO, which needed $7 million immediately and $20 million for the season to stay alive.
  • He put an estimated $650 million (not a typo) of his own money into the city, including $30 million donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a total estimated at $263 million to NYC's arts, civic, health, and cultural groups, according to the NY Times.

7 comments:

Eric said...

Yes, but it's not an apples to apples thing. The article shows that he put money into supporting places that weren't on unstable financial ground quite like NYCO. Of course, he could have put in his own money, but his other funds went to stronger financially stable orgs.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Social service and arts groups are all highly dependent on grants and gifts for their survival, regardless of the quality of management or the long-term financial picture.

The main point, though, is that Bloomberg gave away enough money to restock the endowment and run five NYCOs during his tenure, yet he talks about "business models" that don't work. He HAS to understand how arts organizations work better than that.

Eric said...

I agree with you, and I think he does. But like most donors, they're not likely to give more money to something they think is broken. I don't blame him if he was skeptical, even though it was the right gesture and symbol to save a civic icon.

Lisa Hirsch said...

It certainly would have been reasonable for him to say "I am not making a big donation to try to save NYCO because I have no confidence in the Board." That's the real issue here, rather than the business model.

Eric said...

But doesn't the board also help dictate the business decisions? Yeah, the model is troubled perhaps, but his statement also showed no confidence in the NYCO operations.

Lisa Hirsch said...

The Board of NYCO made many, many terrible business decisions and is almost entirely to blame for the demise of the company. There's a long analysis of what happened that makes this clear; I don't have the URL handy, but I can dig it up later today.

Eric said...

Either way, the Board did some questionable things, and Bloomberg, no matter how much money he had provided to the arts, decided he had no confidence in City Opera to support it in its last days. All a shame overall. But, I stand by my original point - he had no actual obligation here.