The Latest from TW&B: News and Events



“I want the sky to land here, to cool it, and make it well again.”

Yoko Ono

This wish was the inspiration behind Yoko Ono’s SKYLANDING, her first permanent sculpture in the Americas, located in Chicago’s Jackson Park.

The sky has held a deep significance for Ms. Ono since her childhood. In the spring of 1945, she was sent to the Japanese countryside to escape the bombings of Tokyo during World War II. There was a food shortage, and she and her brother, Keisuke, would lie down and imagine menus in the sky that might nourish them back to strength. Since then, Ms. Ono has seen the sky as a source of hope, comfort and healing.

SKYLANDING is comprised of twelve brushed stainless steel lotus petals that radiate outward. The sculpture is a public work designed to be interactive, with the petals spread to encourage onlookers to walk inside. The participation continues on, which invites visitors to share their own wishes with the world.

At the October 17 dedication ceremony, she described the sculpture as the “place where the sky and earth meet and create a seed to learn about the past and come together to create a future of peace and harmony, with nature and each other.”

The Mended Petal now stands in the garden of the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Mended Petal now stands in the garden of the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The companion piece to SKYLANDING is the “Mended Petal,” a 13th petal located at the Art Institute of Chicago. The petal is symbolically repaired with a seam in the Japanese tradition of kinsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with laquer dusted in gold, silver, or platinum. The tradition treats repair as part of the history of the object, using damage as an opportunity to make the piece more beautiful.

Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt worked with our clients at Project 120 Chicago to bring Ms. Ono’s vision to Chicago. When Yoko Ono first visited Chicago in the 1970s, she stayed in a hotel with a view of the lake. She was inspired by Lake Michigan when writing the song “Walking on Thin Ice.” This was the last song John Lennon worked on, which they completed recording on the day he was killed.

“Chicago makes me nostalgic about way, way back when I was a little girl in the 1930s. I don’t really know why. But there seems to be a strong connection between me and Chicago,” Ms. Ono has said.

Osaka Garden on Wooded Island in Chicago’s Jackson Park

The site also has ties to Yoko’s Japanese heritage. The SKYLANDING sculpture is located on the Wooded Island in Jackson Park, on the former site of the Japanese Phoenix Pavilion during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Phoenix Pavilion showcased Japan’s artistic achievements for the first time in the United States. Today, the Wooded Island is home to the Osaka Garden, a Japanese garden with a gazebo, footbridge and waterfall.

The sculpture is a short walk from the Museum of Science and Industry and is across the street from the site of the planned Barack Obama Presidential Center. The construction of SKYLANDING is part of Project 120’s partnership with the Chicago Park District to restore and revitalize Jackson Park. We’re honored to be a part of the effort to recognize and grow the rich cultural heritage of Jackson Park that brought this inspirational piece of art to the Chicago community.


Outside In: Paint for Peace

The new exhibition “Outside In: Paint for Piece” from our client COCA (Center of Creative Arts) shows the resilience of a community reeling from violence and protest. This collaborative community exhibition displays murals of hope, unity, and renewal in a time when the Ferguson and St. Louis community needed them the most.

In August 2014, the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri triggered weeks of protests in the St. Louis area and across the country. After a St. Louis County grand jury announced it would not indict Officer Darren Wilson that November, protests broke out again and many Ferguson businesses were destroyed by vandalism.

sheldon-art-galleries-1In the aftermath, neighborhood leaders met to discuss cleanup. They started the Paint for Peace initiative in Ferguson and St. Louis. Artists were invited to paint boarded up windows to bring hope and renewal back into the community. Word spread through social media, and at least 350 artists created around 250 images throughout the community.

Now, nearly two years later, Center of Creative Arts (COCA) has collected 21 of these pieces for their exhibition “Outside In: Paint for Peace”. COCA is a leader in arts education in St. Louis, serving more than 50,000 people of all ages and backgrounds in dance, music, theatre, art, design, and more.

“The arts play an important role in helping people process major change and giving voice to complex issues. We hope this exhibition will provide a means to foster conversation in our community,” said Kelly Pollock, COCA Executive Director. “As COCA celebrates 30 years of connecting St. Louisans to the arts, we’re excited to launch our gallery season with this powerful collaboration.”

The new exhibit, which incorporates programs and events from August 27 through November 19, shows the power of art to create conversations and rebuild community. The art will be displayed in galleries, museums, and cultural centers across St. Louis and Ferguson. COCA will also offer educational programs including in-school residencies, field trips, and a professional development workshop to engage students, teachers and families.

missouri-history-museum“Taking art into the street created a social diary and provided people of all ages an outlet for raw emotions and a way to express their concerns. They navigated their reactions and views in the days and weeks following the protests,” said curator Jacquelyn Lewis-Harris. “This exhibition is meant to both conserve and preserve these meaningful works of art – ranging from simple drawings of love and peace to challenging calls for social change. We hope to provide historical and technical context and allow the works of art to be preserved as part of the growing international canon of graffiti art.”

The community of Ferguson continues to recover, and the Paint for Peace messages of love, peace, and social change are as important as ever today. As protests have continued to break out in the past two years, there are an increasing number of towns like Ferguson across the country where communities are in conflict. In this tumultuous climate, nonprofits are challenged to address the real issues that impact the world in a way that aligns with their mission. At Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt, we’re proud to support the work COCA is doing to use artistic expression to address the needs of the community and foster challenging conversations.

Learn more about COCA’s “Outside In: Paint for Peace” here.


Meet Amy Funk & Theresa Lipo

We are proud to introduce the latest additions to the TW&B team, Amy Funk and Theresa Lipo.

Amy Funk joins us as Vice President of Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt. She has a strong background in cultural institutions and human services. Amy has extensive experience with board development, recruitment, capital campaigns, and annual funds.

Theresa Lipo is a new member of our adjunct team, joining us as Adjunct Counsel for Government and Foundation Relations. Theresa has served human service and educational institutions in Chicago for over 25 years. She’s helped nonprofits secure funds from many levels of government, including the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and federal agencies.

We wanted to learn a little bit more about their backgrounds, their approach to raising money, and what drew them to this work. We asked them a few questions to get started. Read their answers below!

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Charitable Donations in United States Break Record Two Years in a Row

Giving in the United States has reached its highest level ever, surpassing the previous high in 2014 and the levels seen prior to the recession. According to their annual report released today, the Giving USA Foundation estimates that total giving reached $373.25 billion in 2015. This is the highest total since the report began in 1974, in both actual dollars and after adjusting for inflation.

In 2015, giving increased by 4 percent from 2014 after adjusting for inflation. Increases were seen across every giving source for the second year in a row, including individuals, estates, foundations, and corporations. Individual giving, the largest source of giving at 71 percent of the total, contributed an estimated $264.58 billion, which is a 3.7 percent increase from the  inflation-adjusted total in 2014. Giving by foundations, which totaled at  $58.46 billion, increased by the largest amount of any source, at 6.3 percent after adjusting for inflation.

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Giving USA 2015

Giving USA: Americans Donate the Highest Total in Report’s 60-year History

According to their annual report released today, the Giving USA Foundation estimates that total giving reached $358.38 billion in 2014. This surpasses the peak in 2007 before the Great Recession. This is the highest total since the report began in 1974, in both actual dollars and after adjusting for inflation.

Total giving in 2014 saw a 5.4 percent increase from 2013 after adjusting for inflation. In addition, 2014 was the fifth year in a row that giving has risen. These numbers suggest that philanthropic giving has recovered from the decline experienced by many nonprofit organizations brought on by the Great Recession.

“This year’s report details what we’re seeing among our clients. There is a renewed sense of optimism in the field of development, and these numbers confirm that,” says Dean Rein, president and partner of Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt.

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Senate Votes to Extend Charitable IRA Rollover

In an effort to encourage older Americans to give charitably out of their Individual Retirement Accounts, the charitable IRA rollover was enacted in 2006. This means that IRA owners age 70-1/2 or older can donate up to $100,000 per year directly from their IRA without paying taxes as income. Other charitable provisions that will be extended include conservation donations of land, and incentives encouraging farmers to donate to food banks.

These provisions, which had expired on December 31, 2013, would be retroactively extended until December 31, 2014. The House had voted to extend them this summer, and the Senate has passed it December 16. President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

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Announcing a New

At Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt, we’re proud to announce the launch of our new website. The website now features a new look and feel with  user-friendly navigation. The updated design is completely responsive and transitions easily for screens of all sizes, from your desktop to your laptop, from your tablet to your smartphone.

Quite a bit has changed with TW&B in the past year, and our new website will be able to grow as we do.  We look forward to bringing you the latest news, along with blog posts by our team of senior-level nonprofit consultants.

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North Park University Dedicates New Johnson Center

Mary Surridge, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at North Park, stands with TW&B's Clyde Watkins and Nora Kyger
Mary Surridge, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at North Park, with TW&B’s Clyde Watkins and Nora Kyger at Johnson Center dedication

On September 12, 2014, our clients at North Park University dedicated the Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life. The Johnson Center includes a student center and space for the North Park science and health programs. This dedication comes at the end of Campaign North Park, a five-year, $57 million campaign. North Park exceeded their fundraising goals, raising $63 million to date. Continue reading


Community Foundations Celebrate 100th Anniversary

On January 2, 1914 The Cleveland Foundation was born.  Its founder, Fredrick H. Goff envisioned this community foundation as an endowment that would pool philanthropic gifts for the betterment of Cleveland.  Shortly thereafter, community foundations were created in Chicago, Boston, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Buffalo. Today there are more than 700 community foundations in the U. S.

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