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  • Emily Thompson 1:18 pm on August 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    An Affair to Remember 

    While I was not invited to this year’s National Arts Awards, nor do I have the $1000 available to purchase the cheapest possible ticket, I have been completely enthralled and excited about this year’s NAA. Held every October at Cipriani’s in New York City the National Arts Awards highlights the accomplishment of those who are involved with or actively support the arts. Previous award recipients include Julie Andrews (Lifetime Achievement Award), Jake Gyllenhaal (Young Artist Award), Ed Ruscha (Artistic Excellence Award), and Anne Finucane, Bank of America (Corporate Citizenship in the Arts Award). 

    Standard Station-Ed Ruscha


    This year’s NAA event with be highlighting the achievements of Angela Lansbury, philanthropist and arts patron Martha Rivers Ingram, and fashion designer sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, of Rodarte

    During the course of my internship at Americans for the Arts I have been able to work on several aspects of this event. I have done a great deal of prospect research on the honorees. I’ve researched who they are and the people and organizations who surround their lives. These could be family members, friends, business associates, or fellow board members. These are people who we may want to invite to the event, ask to present the award to or who may want to sponsor the event and place an ad in the program. (More …)

  • Emily Thompson 6:35 pm on August 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    State Arts Agencies 

    Well, I am still working at Americans for the Arts, and things are going great. I’m still working on a massive project for in individual giving department. Prospect research is something I have not been able to do much of, and at AFTA I was given the opportunity to work on this and develop this skill. I began researching all of the National State Arts Agencies and their Board Members. While many of the members are currently already involved with Americans for the Arts, it is clear that the majority are not. After researching the boards, and searching for their contact information, I have been creating new entries in the Americans for the Arts database. These individuals are already interested in the arts and have some involvement with the arts within their own state. They are ideal candidates to began cultivating a relationship with, and hopefully they will donate their time, or their money to the organization. This has been a great opportunity to learn more about government relations in the arts and seeing what types of people are involved within the state agencies, and what other interests they have.

  • Emily Thompson 8:47 pm on July 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    AFTA Half-Century Summit 

    Every year, Americans for the Arts hosts a summit/ conference/convention. Last year’s event was in Seattle and next year’s is in San Diego! But, lucky me! This year’s summit took place in Baltimore and that meant interns got to go! YAY! Unfortunately, we were only able to go for one day..but, it was a great day! Leading up to the summit, there were a lot of pre-conference events, including a talk with John Waters (creator of Hairspray). I was really disappointed I was not going to be able to attend this event, but it ended up ok in that I got to meet him the next day! He signed his new book for me, which I am very excited about reading, and he was nice enough to take a picture with me. Now, if you know anything about John Waters, you know he is weird…well, in person he is just as bizarre if not more so! I attended the opening lunch with guest speakers Robert Redford (LOVE HIM) and Arianna Huffington (creator of huffingtonpost.com). Both did a great job, and later when Arianna signed HER new book for me, and I told her how much I loved reading her site, she asked me when I was going to start writing for the arts section!! I don’t know if she was serious or not, but I am definitely going to start brainstorming some topics and get back to her about that one. The rest of the afternoon was full of your typical conference stuff; snacks, break-out sessions, more snacks…you know how it is. Later that night, all the interns were invited to the American Visionary Art Museum This museum was SO freaking cool. I need to go back though and really take it all in. There was so much art, music, drinks, and food that I really didn’t get the chance to walk around and absorb it all. The day is not over yet though! I met Bill Ivey, former chairman of the NEA and founder of the Curb Center for Cultural Policy at Vanderbilt. Now, I have many academic aspirations, and one of them is studying with this guy at Vandy. Not sure it’s going to happen now though, because I think my excitement at meeting him may have scared him off…oh well!

  • Emily Thompson 3:53 pm on July 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m Back!!! 

    Once again, I’ve failed at keeping up with my blog. AU Career Center, I’m very sorry. And I’m sorry to all my loyal fans out there…I know I must be keeping you in such suspense. Everything at Americans for the Arts is going so well. I have so much to tell you!! I’m going to split it into a few blogs (I promise this will happen) so you don’t have to read such a novel.  Here are some of the things that I will discuss:

    1) the AFTA Half-Century Summit in Baltimore

    2) My State Arts Agency Project

    3) The National Arts Awards

    4) Creating the Artist Committee Mosaic

    5) My Goals for this internship.

    In the meantime, I just sat in on my first monthly Development meeting. It was really great. We talked about where we are currently in the fiscal year, where we need to be, what areas we need to push a little harder to get additional funds. We also talked about what happens should there be any changes in the board in the upcoming years, the possibility of a long-term plan (endowment), and some of our programs such as the National Arts Marketing Project and Business Committee for the Arts. http://www.artsusa.org

    I know I know…not really giving you much to go on this week…but I promise I will be back soon with something fun!!! Stay Tuned!

  • Emily Thompson 12:47 am on June 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Another Summer, Another Internship 

    Hi All!!! Its Emily again, and I’m back with a brand new internship!!! This summer I’ve started interning at what could possibly be my ideal organization, and a place I would love to be employed one day. Americans for the Arts, http://www.artsusa.org, is the nation’s leading non-profit organization for advancing the arts in America. “Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts.” Americans for the Arts has 4 primary goals:

    1. Lead and serve individuals and organizations to help build environments in which the arts and arts education thrive and contribute to more vibrant and creative communities.
    2. Generate meaningful public and private sector policies and more leaders and resources for the arts and arts education.
    3. Build individual awareness and appreciation of the value of the arts and arts education.
    4. Ensure the operational stability of the organization and its ability to creatively respond to opportunities and challenges.

    I first came across AftA my junior year at Syracuse when I was looking up job possibilities for after graduation. I applied, only to receive no response (so sad) but then decided that graduate school was a better option for me anyway. I decided to reapply for an internship this summer and was THRILLED to get it!!! I’m interning in Development once again as well as with a department called Leadership Alliances.  I will be doing a lot of prospect research, including research State Art Councils’ Boards of Directors, and researching possible guests and sponsors for the 2010 National Arts Awards in October. A lot of cool stuff is happening, and I can’t wait to let you all know how it goes!!!

  • Emily Thompson 11:01 pm on May 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    What’s Next?! 

    This afternoon  the Planned Giving staff at the Holocaust Museum took me out to lunch to thank me for my hard work this semester. It was so thoughtful of them and really generous. We went to Eli’s in Dupont Circle (the only kosher restaurant in DC). Now, I’m not kosher at all, but I can’t resist a yummy corned beef sandwich. And it was GOOOOD!!!! Also, if you like onion rings, Eli’s makes some pretty good ones (20th and N). Anyway, I really enjoyed lunch today with the whole gang. We talked about my experience in the department, and the museum as a whole, including the internship program at the museum. If you are interested in ever applying, I’m including the link! They asked me about my summer plans, which include a trip home to NY and my cousin’s wedding, along with a summer Grant Writing class. All in all though, it was nice to see them out of the office setting and see that they really do all get along and work well together. Sometimes I wonder if people are actually friends in “real life”, and I honestly think these people are. It was really nice to see. Anyway, a special treat to have lunch with them all, and I think I really might miss them a little bit. I’m going to have to go and visit!!

    Intern at the USHMM: http://www.ushmm.org/museum/volunteer_intern/intern/

    So, what’s next for me you ask??? Well, starting on June 1st, I will be interning at Americans for the Arts in their Development/Leadership Alliances department. I’m really excited about this new internship and am looking forward to seeing a different side of development in a completely different setting. Maybe if I’m lucky the career center will let me blog about that one too!!!

    Wishing everyone the best in their future internships and careers!! Have a wonderful summer.

  • Emily Thompson 10:53 pm on May 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    The End of an Internship 

    Well, my internship at the USHMM is just about over. Although there were a few bumps in the road, I have to say it was definitely the most rewarding internship I have had. I am going to look back on my experience there very fondly, especially when I drink some tea out of my new USHMM coffee mug! I learned a lot and feel confident in my abilities leaving the museum. I am looking forward to moving on and think development is really something I can achieve at and excel in. The staff at the USHMM taught me a lot about being part of a team, working toward the bigger picture, and what it means to really work toward something. The experience I had at the museum in planned giving, including the projects I worked on, people I met, and the Days of Remembrance events, are all things that I will be able to take with me as I leave. While I’m not yet quite ready to have a REAL job, interning at the USHMM gave me an idea of what it will be like working in such a capacity, one where the work I do is valued and appreciated, and not just a project to fill my time. I am very excited about the opportunity I had working at the museum and am looking forward to the future, full of new ideas and new knowledge to help me in my future career!

  • Emily Thompson 5:25 pm on May 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    The USHMM is looking for a new Planned Giving intern for the summer!! If you are interested you can contact me for more information at emilyrosethompson@gmail.com. Based on everything I have told you all in my blogs, I hope you have a little idea of what the internship entails, but just in case I will give you a brief run down.

    Interest in Development is highly desired, an interest in Planned Giving is preferred, but not completely necessary. Knowledge of excel and data entry a must. Ability to affectively communicate and work well with others is ideal. Also, not a bad idea to have a sense of humor…but not so much that you don’t get any work done!! Being able to work with a team is essential!

    Tasks: data entry, enhancing donor information, typical jobs like filing, mailing, copying that come with every job regardless of employment status.

    If you are interested, I will put you in touch with the right people!!!!

  • Emily Thompson 5:17 pm on May 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    I have to say. This has been a really great internship. I’ve gotten to get involved in a lot of different projects, helped out with events, and taken on responsiblity for projects that really have a great impact on the museum and development. I’m currently finishing up some projects before the semester ends. Currently, working from this MASSIVE spreadsheet of bequests, life insurance policies, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Annuity Trusts, IRAs, etc. etc. etc. Anyway, the purpose of the sheet is to determine how many of them are meant for the Endowment. You may remember mentioning that I was working on this wayyyyy back when I first started. I’ve been entering a lot of data in the TA Database and its kind of taken a little while. If you don’t already know, Endowments are really important to non-profit organizations such as museums, opera companies, theater groups, and even private schools (such as American University). They are typically restricted funds whose interest grows from the principal donation. Over time, the endowment grows and grows and can finally be used for new programming, improvements or whatever. However, the principal amount cannot be spent, only the interest. It’s a little complicated, but basically its a nest egg that can be broken into for purposes  just in case! The USHMM is also starting a new campaign to really push people to make their donations for the endowment. While some people do, majority do not specify this or make their donation very restricted and have a clear purpose for how the museum spends their money. Anyway, it has been fun going through the database and entering all this information. Some might think its tedious and boring, but I like it!!

  • Emily Thompson 10:02 pm on April 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    DoR: What Worked, What Didn’t? 

    Today at the USHMM was a day of reflection. Looking back at last week’s events and discussing what worked and what didn’t. Yesterday (Monday) a lot of people were still out of the office, DoR takes a lot of energy, so some decided they needed a little more R&R…I can’t really blame them. Seeing how much work and time went into planning the event (1 year to be exact….next year’s dates are already out. May 3-5, 2011), I could see why some staff would want to take a little break! So, today at the prospect strategy meeting, the development staff at the museum, and the development staff at locations around the country, video/phone conferenced to discuss DoR. While I won’t go into every little detail about what was said, I will say there is always room for improvement. Many of the guests of this year’s events thought it was the best DoR EVER! Which is amazing, but looking back, there were a few little issues that could be fixed. I learned that when planning events of this nature, you can’t be afraid to make changes for the next year. It is okay to take some risks and do some experimentation to see what really works! What works one year, might not work the next, and so on and on and on. So, you sometimes have to listen to everyone’s idea and thank them graciously, even if deep down you are thinking to yourself, “There is no way in H*** I will ever let that happen!”, because the truth is, it might end up being a great suggestion! Listening to everyone’s input today was really fun, and at times a little disheartening, but in the end what everyone says is taken back to the head honchos, looked over and this starts the planning for next year! To leave you with something fun, if you are on twitter, take a look at what some people had to say about this year’s events! #2010DOR

    • Leila Smith 11:49 pm on April 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I call it refreshing an event — every year something needs to be freshened and everything should be on the table. You just hope that some things stay on the table and that others fall underneath. Opera America used to close down for several days after their annual meeting!

  • Emily Thompson 4:03 pm on April 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Days of Remembrance 

    This past week came and week extremely quickly, but I know I won’t ever forget it! The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has their annual Days of Remembrance event this past week (DOR as we fondly call it). The past week marks the week that the Nazi Concentration camps were liberated by US soldiers, this week was particularly important because it marks the 65th anniversary of the Liberation. To go along with this historic event, this year’s DOR was all about the liberators. The events began on Tuesday with an extremely moving photo shoot of the hundreds of liberators who joined us from around the country in the front of the museum where the flags of their military divisions are placed. Needless to say it was very emotional for some, and extremely joyous for others, proud and yet still scared by what they had seen and done. Wednesday was the day I was most excited about! The development department’s big moment had arrived full of luncheons, teas, and awards ceremonies. I helped with the Legacy of Light Tea (which is part of Planned Giving) and awarded about 15 new planned giving donors, one of whom just donated $10 million!!! Could you imagine having that kind of money! I hope to one day be able to give that kind of money to an organization I am so passionate about. WOW! Anyway, following the tea I had to run over to the Omni Shorem in Adams Morgan to help set up for the USHMM Tribute Dinner. There were roughly 1000 people in attendance, Eric Holder was the speaker, and the food was phenomenal. Senator Joe Lieberman patted me on the shoulder as I handed him his place card and showed him his seat, and Wolf Blitzer walked right by me (he is taller than he looks on TV). It was awesome. There were some other cool people there, congressmen, ambassadors, all the liberators, survivors, etc. Thursday morning was even cooler though, I hoped on the bus with the museum council (the board) and rode over to the Capital for the final ceremony. General David Petraeus spoke and I cried at least twice. The ceremony was so moving, liberators were brought to tears, the music of Schindler’s List playing in the background…I’m sure you can imagine what that was all like. But, being in the Capital Rotunda for such an awesome moment. It was unreal. I’m so happy I got to be a part of it, who knows if i will ever get to experience it again. If you ever get the chance to intern at the USHMM, do it in the spring. You won’t be sorry!!

    The event was even on World News Tonight!!!!

    • Leila Smith 6:10 pm on April 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Emily — I’m glad you had the experience.

  • Emily Thompson 8:51 pm on March 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Database, , ,   

    I’m Back! 

    Hi All, I’m back from my fabulous trip to the Netherlands! What a beautiful country. My family is there for a while because of business, and live about an hour and a half south-east of Amsterdam. We drove up there and I did see the Anne Frank House, which I was very excited about because of my involvement with the museum, obviously, and you name it, we did…except for some things which were off-limits due to the fact i was traveling with 4 children under the age of 13.  🙂 We did a million other things, but I don’t feel the need to bore you with stories of my family vacation.

    Back at work this week and its going well. I hit a little bump in the road on Monday when they made me move desks again. Seriously starting to be a real pain. Is it too much to ask to just have a desk I can leave all my stuff at each night and know in the morning it is going to be there? Having to constantly move around, change floors, and update computers to fit my needs is such a hassle. I’m trying to make the most of it though and am meeting new people around the museum! Steve, the tech guy, and I are practically best friends haha.

    I’ve finally started working with Team Approach, the museum’s database to keep track of donors, members, etc. I’m familiar with Razer’s Edge, but this is so different. It is a very weird program, not sure how I feel about it yet. It is not very user-friendly. Anyhoo, all the work I did looking through files and finding information about donations made to the endowment now has to be updated into Team Approach. So, I think this is Part 2 of my project.

    Things are getting SUPER busy now at the Museum because Days of Remembrance is fast approaching, the 2nd week of May. This is a 3 day event including a tribute dinner (only $325 a plate, yikes) with Speaker Attorney General Eric Holder. This dinner pays tribute to the US Soldiers who helped defeat the Nazis during WW2 and liberate Holocaust survivors. This year’s event is going to be extremely special as many veterans are going to be in attendance. I am lucky enough to get to work this event, although I’m not entirely sure yet in what capacity.  I’ll keep you posted!!!

    • Karen Thompson 3:53 pm on March 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Emily, I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It sounds very exciting and the work seems rewarding. It is a lot more information than I get from your phone calls. How often do you blog?

  • Emily Thompson 6:50 pm on March 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Great News!!!! 

    Something absolutely amazing happened to me last Thursday, I got my Security clearance!! YAYAY. Now I finally have an official badge, no one has to pick me up at the front door in the morning, and I can leave my office without getting locked out in the stair way. It is awesome.

    Anyway, on to things of actual importance. I am just finishing my the first part of my assignment, and have approximately 25 more files to go through!!! Going through all these files is a bit of a pain, but it is sometimes really interesting what I find inside. In my journey of searching for anything endowment related, I’ve found stories from Holocaust survivors, letters between donors and USHMM employees, and legal paperwork that would make your head spin. But, it is all a learning experience, and I’m loving it. Even though I’ve never met any of these people before, I am starting to become familiar with their names and remember little bits about them here and there. I’m making friends I will probably never meet! Is that corney? Maybe!

    Yesterday I decided to take a break and attend a lecture at the museum about a new book, The Jewish Response to Presecution, VOL 1, 1933-1938. There were 5 panalists, or “readers”, who each read sections and documents from the book. These readers were actually some of the Survivor Volunteers from the museum. It was such an honor to be able to sit and listen to some of their own personal stories, thinking about the things they had to go through, I get a little choked up.

    I am going to Holland on Thursday for Spring Break, and asked my supervisor if he has anywork for me to do while I am there! He said he’d think about it. HAHA. But i’m definitely going to the Anne Frank House, and maybe I will get in for free if I show my USHMM badge!!!!

    • Stephanie Quinton 12:15 am on March 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations on your security clearance! I’m in the midst of obtaining mine and I know that it takes a long time to get it. Again Congrats!

    • fblume 4:33 pm on March 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Congrats on the clearance! How was Holland? Did you make it to the Anne Frank House?

  • Emily Thompson 4:32 pm on February 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bequests, CGAs, , Donations, Endowments, Estates, IRA, , Trusts,   

    Working in Planned Giving: Endowments 

    So, most people know what development is. It is the part of an organization that helps get money! Development is most commonly seen in the Not-For-Profit world, but some for-profits have development as well. What most people don’t know however is that there are several areas of Development; Grants, Foundations, even Special Events! At the USHMM, I am working in Planned Giving. PG is about planning for the future and ensuring the museum remains for future generations. Receiving charitable donations through bequests, estates, IRAs, trusts, and many others donors ensure that the memory and lessons of the holocaust will never be forgotten

    One of the most important aspects of development is knowing where donations are meant to go. There are several areas such as the permanent collection, education programs, and the endowment. The endowment is a large pool of money that can be used for the museum’s general purposes and programming. This money is extremely important to have just in case anything were to ever happen, there would be money to fall back on.

    This is where my job comes in! Currently, I am going through each and every donor file to see if they have specifically designated their money to go to the General Endowment. It may not seem like the most thrilling job, but it is important information for the museum to have an estimate of how much money they have in the endowment, just in case!!

    • FB 1:20 pm on February 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      It is interesting. Are you getting a sense of who the donors are and what they’re like? Is it a struggle to get funds for general operations because people want their money to go to highly visible projects?

  • Emily Thompson 5:14 pm on February 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,   

    Emily’s First Post!! Woo Hoo! 

    Hi Everyone!! My name is Emily, I am a graduate student in the Department of Performing Arts. I am currently working on getting my master’s in Arts Management! I recently graduated from Syracuse University in May 2009 with a dual degree in Art History and Public Policy, and a minor in Public Communications. I LOVED Syracuse and had a wonderful experience there, but now I am VERY excited to be in DC now and studying at AU.

    This January I started interning at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Planned Giving, an area of Development.  So far, things are going really well. I’m really enjoying the people I work with, and learning about development, planned giving and the museum. This is now my “4th” week at the museum, or it would have been, had it not be for the snow week, yuck! So, I will make sure to update you all on everything that has already happened, and will keep you posted on what is to come! Hope you enjoy the ride with me!

    • fblume 12:09 am on February 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog! (Where’s your photo?!) Planned giving is really interesting. Are you seeing it as a way for people to feel involved?

      • Emily Thompson 2:34 pm on February 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you!! It is great to be a part of such a great project! My only hope is that other’s will enjoy reading about my experience and it the USHMM as a great place to work! Planned Giving is definitely interesting and there is a lot more to it than I had originally anticipated. The PG Director, associates, and stewards work really hard to keep the donors involved through different “groups” such as Legacy of Light or Wings of Memory Societies. I will have to blog about these groups in another entry at some point!

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