formal letter to the Board of Directors
You are the Executive Director at a midsized nonprofit museum. The museum, while successful, operates very close to the margins meaning your income and expenses are always very close to each other. Your most popular permanent exhibition is a collection of turn of the century surrealist paintings including work by Picasso, Dali, and Ernst. You have just begun a two-month membership campaign using the works in that collection in your marketing materials. The central image in your marketing campaign is a piece by Marc Chagall. Your campaign culminates with a gala held in the surrealist wing. This annual fundraising campaign usually brings in about 30% of your earnings for the year. You have just received a phone call informing you that the Marc Chagall painting at the center of your marketing campaign was stolen from a family by the Nazis during the Holocaust. The family, has asked for the painting back and has made it clear if you do not comply, they will pursue legal action. What do you do? Some things to note. It is 100% true that the painting was looted and sold by the Nazis during World War II. You, however, bought it last year from an anonymous private collector for a very large sum. The American Association of Museums (of which you are accredited) has suggested guidelines for Nazi looted paintings. They are available here:appropriation-of-many museums who have been sued by former owners of Nazi looted paintings have won their court cases. Meaning the museum has been able to keep the paintings, but a court case is expensive and has the chance to ruin your reputation in the eyes of the public and your donors. The family, while firm about wanting the painting returned to their possession is open to negotiating the terms, but is not a family of means and could not afford to pay the full cost. Should you return the painting, the images in your marketing campaign would need to be changed at great cost to you because it would be false advertising. Your insurance company is able to cover only 15% of the value of the painting. No matter what you decide, you will have to make some statement to the press. Even if that statement is “no comment.” Write a formal letter to the Board of Directors explaining your recommended decision. Your letter must contain all of the following: A persuasive argument which clearly states how you believe the board should move forward. Which key stakeholders you spoke with before making your decision and why. The best- and worst-case scenarios which might may arise from your decision. Your proposed statement to the press. (No more than 250 words) You paper must be no less than 1500 words
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