Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Through a transformative partnership with Orr Group, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) successfully revitalized its fundraising efforts, expanded donor engagement, and secured vital resources to continue shaping the cultural landscape of San Francisco.

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The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) was founded as the cultural cornerstone of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens neighborhood. Since its opening to the public in 1993, YBCA’s work has spanned contemporary art, performance, film, civic engagement, and public life, reimagining the role of art institutions in communities by emphasizing artists’ centrality to social and cultural movements. Despite its impressive track record, YBCA faced a pivotal challenge: leveraging recent philanthropic investments, including significant contributions from MacKenzie Scott and Jack Dorsey, to help stabilize the organization during the pandemic, elevate fundraising efforts, and encourage new donors to give to YBCA.

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Recognizing this critical juncture, YBCA initiated a transformative partnership with Orr Group. The initial phase encompassed a comprehensive development assessment, including creating a compelling case for support and evaluating existing fundraising strategies. Concurrently, Orr Group initiated outsourced database work to strengthen YBCA’s infrastructure. As the collaboration evolved, key initiatives took shape: fostering a culture of collaboration, expanding donor pipelines, investing in research tools and capacity, and crafting tailored fundraising materials for specific target groups and donors. During this time, YBCA also experienced significant leadership transition with the addition of new Board members, a new CEO, and a restructuring of the Fundraising, Curatorial, and Finance departments. Orr Group offered support across these teams and in ushering a new era of ambitious programmatic and targeted fundraising efforts for YBCA.

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This collaborative effort yielded significant results, transforming YBCA’s fundraising operations. To date, YBCA has successfully renewed and expanded its donor pipeline for Corporate, Individual, and Foundation donors, including private family foundations, with comprehensive support for grants. The organization has also actively cultivated corporate partnerships, and grown portfolios of major and individual donors. Orr Group provided informed revenue projections and collaborated with new leadership across departments to work more holistically, and specifically between YBCA’s fundraising and programming teams. The partnership has expanded to include ongoing Salesforce support and training, along with sustained thought partnership for its Executive Leadership team (CEO, COO, and Chief of Staff), especially.

This ongoing collaboration between YBCA and Orr Group continues to drive growth, innovation, and sustainability, ensuring that YBCA’s mission and vision will shape the cultural landscape in San Francisco and beyond for years to come.