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ARC State Program Manager Comments

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Corning-Elmira Musical Arts, Inc., dba, Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes

Total Qualifying Score: 8
County (ARC Region): Yes
State (ARC Region): Yes
Q3. IRS Status: Nonprofit – 2
Q4. Parent Entity: No – 1
Q5. 2 or More Full-Time Employees : No (as of 12/31/2019)
Q7. Budget Level: $250,001 to $1.5 million – 5 (Last Fiscal Year Actual Income)
Q8. Restricted Reserves: Yes – 0
Q9. CARES Act Funding: Yes – 0
Q13. Participation by Executive: Yes


Corning-Elmira Musical Arts, Inc., dba, Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes
Corning, Steuben County, New York 14830

County (ARC Region) Steuben
State (ARC Region) New York


Q1. Mission:

Corning-Elmira Musical Arts, Inc. will consistently present the highest level of classical music to inspire appreciation and provide musical education through the performances of all its ensembles:  the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, the Chorus of the Southern Finger Lakes, the Youth Orchestra, the Junior String Ensemble, and the Chamber Music Ensembles.

Q2. How organization aligns with ARC’s Plan & Goals:

Having a professional orchestra and a youth orchestra in a community supports the economy and community development through cultural and educational activities. The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (OSFL) promotes music education and developing creative thinking in our youth as well as the general community.  Students in the Youth Orchestra are the top academic students in their schools. Skills learned in music ensembles build on innovation, collaboration, leadership, cooperation, listening, communicating, and supporting. We are building next-generation leaders through the educational programs at the OSFL.  The OSFL music strengthens the mental, emotional, and social health of the community–which is desperately needed now more than ever. 

Q3. IRS Filing Status: 501(c)(3)   

Q4. Unit or Chapter of Larger Organization: No

Q5. Employees:

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 1/2 (as of 9/1/2020)

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 1/2 (as of 12/31/2019)

Current Year Income/Expenses: $300,617/$300,617

Q6. Fiscal Year: July-June

Q7. Budget Level

Last Fiscal Year Income/Expenses (Actual): $353,681 / $316,313

Current Year Income/Expenses (Projected): $300,617 / $300,617

Balance Sheet

Q8. Restricted Reserves (Amount): Yes ($5450)

Q9. CARES Act Funding (Amount): Yes ($16350)
Received From: Chemung Canal Trust Co.   Date Received: 5/6/2020
For What Purpose(s): PPP Loan

Q10. Negative Impacts from COVID-19:

As we all know, 2020 has been an unprecedented year with large gatherings banned since mid-March and that ban remains in effect today. New York state’s stages are indefinitely closed.  We canceled three live concerts in spring 2020 and created a video for the Youth Orchestra and Junior String Ensemble’s final concert.

In addition, ticket sales for the March 8 concert was significantly and negatively impacted by NY’s state of emergency declaration the evening prior to the concert.  Therefore, we did not reach our goals for audience attendance and ticket sales for FY20.

Prior to the pandemic, we had secured increased funding for library concerts for summer 2020, but these had to be canceled due to the pandemic.

We also maintained a financially stable budget for the second year in a row. Despite the cancellation of concerts during the pandemic, we had secured stronger donor engagement such that individual donations had increased, foundation support continued to be strong, and expenses were reduced.

Plans for a 25th anniversary fundraising campaign were thwarted by the pandemic and economic crisis.  The board decided to shift gears, focus on developing a new strategic plan (the previous plan covered 2015 through 2020), and pick up the campaign at a later date. 

We remain shuttered and off stage until the Governor’s mandates are lifted.  The OSFL musicians are doing individual mini-concerts on Facebook Live which are free with donations welcome. The Youth Orchestra and Junior String Ensemble are holding weekly classes online but not able to play together through that medium. Consequently enrollment is significantly reduced for FY21. This is our only source of earned income at this time. In a normal year, youth ensemble tuition accounts for less than 3% of total revenue.

Sept.-Dec. is when we typically hold fundraisers. We canceled the first one and are doubtful about in-person social events until a vaccine is readily available, based on a couple of internal surveys we’ve conducted already.


Q11. Top Three Concerns:
Not accomplishing our mission
Losing our patrons: audiences, students, sponsors, donors
Losing staff and contracted professional musicians

How Participation in Program Will Address Concerns:

Training on fundraising is needed at the board level. Many board members have expressed this concern.  How do we pick up on a 25th anniversary capital campaign when we were still in the planning stages when the pandemic hit?  We face multiple challenges due to the age and technological capabilities of the majority of our current donors. 

This training is crucial for the sustainability of the organization.  In recent years, the fundraising events netted approximately 4% of the budget. This is well below industry average for professional orchestras, and yet, the Corning area maintains a strong philanthropic community. 


Q12. Applying as a Proposed Cohort? No

Q13. Executive Director or CEO Will Participate in the Program? Yes

Q14. Top Two Choices for Cohort Instruction:

Course #1 Choice: 1-Fundraising

Course #2 Choice: 2-Long-term Financial Management

Q15. Desired Course Schedule for Cohort Instruction:

#1 Desired Course Schedule: 1-Fall 2020: 6-Week Course (Nov. 9, 2020 – Dec. 18, 2020)

#2 Desired Course Schedule: 2-Fall 2020: 11-Week Course (Nov. 9, 2020 -Jan. 24, 2021)


Name: Karen Dusek Dusek, Managing Director

Application Approved by Organization Director or CEO? Yes, Approved by Executive Director/CEO

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