By Madison McCullough, Executive Director, Statement Arts
As the Executive Director of Statement Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing performing arts education to marginalized young people around New York City, I think often about the importance of community. We are committed to creating safe and welcoming spaces where our students’ creativity is ignited and they feel encouraged to take risks. Most of our students do not know one another before starting our programs, but by the time they leave, they identify Statement Arts as a family. Without establishing a sense of community for our students, our work could not happen.
At the end of 2017, Statement Arts started to think about the sense of community we wanted to build on an organizational level. As our budget continued to expand and we outgrew the “small nonprofit” classification, we wanted to connect with other nonprofits and companies who could share wisdom and guidance on how to grow responsibly and sustainably. We were ready to formalize our operations and shore up our organizational infrastructure—but we knew we needed help.
Around that time, one of Statement Arts’ Junior Advisory Board Members came across an organization called All Good Work, dedicated to connecting nonprofits with co-working spaces. All Good Work recognizes how crucial it is for nonprofits to have functional workspaces, and knows that it is often a prohibitively expensive endeavor for nonprofits to undertake. I submitted an application, and within just a couple of weeks, Statement Arts’ partnership with All Good Work was official. The next step was to hunt for an appropriate co-working space.
I first visited Bond Collective’s 55 Broadway location in December 2017. When I walked into the space with Statement Arts Founder Liza Politi, we were struck by how beautiful and quiet it was. It felt inviting, and peaceful. I had been to meetings and events at other co-working spaces around New York City, and there was something distinctly different about Bond Collective. It was classy. It was a step above.
Madeline, the spaces' Community Developer, showed us around the space that first day, and walked us through the various amenities. We were impressed by everything that would be included in our membership, including access to conference room space, and printing. To large companies, these might seem like small amenities to point out, but to a growing nonprofit like Statement Arts, they were major selling points. We were also excited about all of the opportunities we would have to build community through various events Bond Collective hosts regularly. We were immediately sold.
In the nearly five months that we have been at Bond Collective, our membership has affected our work at Statement Arts in more ways than we could have anticipated. Working in such a visually stunning space inspires productivity and collaboration. Additionally, knowing that there is incredibly supportive staff like Erin and Madeline (who, remarkably, know everyone by name) consistently on hand to offer assistance makes a big difference. We have met lots of wonderful people working in the space, and are excited for all of the partnerships that we know will develop.
I attribute a lot of our recent success in hiring a new Program Coordinator to Bond Collective and the support we received. Statement Arts has a very small staff, and this was our first major new hire in a number of years. There was a lot at stake. Erin and Madeline were integral in making sure everything ran smoothly. They set up conference room space for us, checked all of our interviewees in when they arrived, and offered them coffee, tea, and water. Every single interviewee remarked on how impressed they were with the space. When we were finally ready to make a job offer, having Bond Collective co-working membership as a listed benefit was a major selling point, and helped to make us a more competitive employer.
Throughout our time at Bond Collective, All Good Work has continued to be a vital resource. The work they do in connecting nonprofits to affordable co-working space is invaluable. They host regular events where their nonprofit partners are encouraged to come together to share ideas and build connections. It’s also an opportunity for us to brag about our respective co-working spaces—of course, I am convinced that Bond Collective at 55 Broadway is the best by far.
Statement Arts has big dreams for growth and expansion, and we hope to pursue those dreams with Bond Collective as our ongoing partner and home. A co-working membership at Bond Collective lends credibility to a growing nonprofit like Statement Arts. It allows us to connect with people both within and outside of the nonprofit space, and inspires us to reach higher. We want to be an example of the value co-working spaces—and specifically Bond Collective—can add to nonprofits. Bond Collective and Statement Arts are both invested in creating community and bringing people together. We do not take any of the amenities for granted, and are grateful to be a part of such a dynamic community.