Jasmine and Alexis have answered that challenge by accepting the two top leadership positions on Ex Fabula’s board. To be Ex-Fabula-fied is to recognize the therapeutic, artistic, and unifying potential of storytelling and commit to using it to change the status quo.
Is it easy? I asked about governance. The board is small and has to implement employment rules and policies and raise money to pay a small staff. I asked if this ever felt awkward. Alexis and Jasmine referred back to that family feeling. Board and staff members have been to each other’s homes and socialized, yet they’ve been able to discuss equitable wages and benefits.
Fundraising? That’s a challenge. Alexis talked about growing fee-for-service relationships with community partners and businesses. Providing storytelling coaches and workshops for clients is a way to carry out the mission while bringing in income. That’s an area where Ex Fabula has grown.
Then there are grants. Jasmine praised Executive Director Megan McGee’s grant savvy! Chasing grants takes a lot of time and legwork because each funder has a specific group or issue they want to impact. Grant applications and fund-raising appeals have to be targeted and specific when general support is not forthcoming. Fortunately, there are many Ex-Fabula-fied people who will step forward to tell potential donors about the impact Ex Fabula’s programs have had in their lives.
Other challenges? Well, there was COVID and the long period of Zoom slams. That was about survival, not growth. Alexis also noted that as the organization emerged from the pandemic and went back to live slams, the first event she went to in-person looked a lot like the Milwaukee default. A mostly white space. But this is not a board that shrugs its shoulders and says well we tried.