Heidi Siesfeld, Assistant Director of Development for Institutional Support, reflects on her first few months at Wave Hill.
This week I am celebrating my first 100 days at Wave Hill. As the Assistant Director of Development for Institutional Support, I oversee funding from foundations, corporations and government sources for all of Wave Hill’s programs including horticulture, education and the arts.
These are serious times to be a Development officer. Nearly every week, I learn about entire government funding programs being cut, corporations suspending their grant-making and foundations expecting not to have enough endowment income to accept new proposals. Like many other cultural institutions, Wave Hill is working harder than ever to keep its key programs vibrant. Each program has a terrific track record of success and in many cases, decades of achievement for generations of New Yorkers. This includes the revitalized Visual Arts Program (10 years), the Family Art Project (20 years) and the Forest Project Summer Collaborative (30 years).
For me, the current economic climate means that every opportunity, new and old, must be explored and explored again…from the possible opportunities for funding through the Federal Stimulus Package which passed in February to letters updating donors who have supported us in past years. Wave Hill is blessed to have a core of loyal supporters who trust the institution’s stellar reputation to be prudent and creative. There is a certainty that we will carry on.
Even in the midst of these trying times, my colleagues throughout the institution have been warm, welcoming and excited about the future (which I hope to help make possible through creative fundraising!) So, in my first 100 days I’ve learned there is so much more to explore at Wave Hill beyond the beautiful grounds and the sweeping views, namely the people, the programs and the passion behind it all.