Mission: The Western Folklife Center uses story and cultural expression to connect the American West to the world.

Western Folklife Center is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1981, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.westernfolklife.org

 501 Railroad Street
Elko NV 89801 

  775-738-7508


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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator


Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.




Exceptional

This charity's score is 91.88, earning it a 4-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2020, the latest year published by the IRS.

View this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

76.2%


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).


This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses

15.7%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

7.9%


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio

0.5%


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).


Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency

$0.26


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

2.29 years


Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth

5.55%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

(Less)

Transparency


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Transparency:
CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information

Unscored

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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Kristin Windbigler, Executive Director

$149,307 (7.27% of Total Expenses)


Current CEO and Board Chair can be found in the Leadership & Adaptability report below.

Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Activities:

Activity data not reported from the IRS


Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Affiliation:

Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


Western Folklife Center reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Balance Sheet


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

Following the Nevada Governor's mandates/guidelines and phased re-openings, the Western Folklife Center (WFC) gift shop and Wiegand Gallery was closed to the public from March 16 to June 1 resulting in loss of earned income and donations. As a result of COVID-19, we could not do regular year-round programming such as bi-monthly dance classes and monthly concerts and jam sessions that normally result in income. The historic Pioneer Building is a favorite venue for community meetings, celebrations, and special events and all events from March 16, 2020 to June 1, 2021 had to be cancelled. The building committee of the WFC's board of trustees had advised us to not open the facility up for facility rentals until we could safely accommodate larger number of visitors. The revenue from these venue rentals and bar sales is key to covering a percentage of operational costs of the Center. We estimate a loss of $13,600 in venue rentals/bar sales to date.


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

As a result of COVID-19, we could not do regular year-round programming such as bi-monthly dance classes and monthly concerts and jam sessions that normally result in income. We will be restarting this program July, 2021. Additionally, because of the COVID-19 health emergency, our board voted to not hold an in-person 2021 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, leaving us without our main earned income producing event for the fiscal year. We are optimistically planning our 38th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering to take place January 24-29, 2022.


How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

This CARES Act grants, along with the PPP grants enabled the Western Folklife Center (WFC) to keep all current employees fully employed as they developed new skills needed for operating digitally. Staff who oversaw key parts of our in-person event planning, such as booking travel and hotels were able to transfer to new responsibilities such as overseeing digital media production and social media. This funding was critical to maintaining staff and extending the time-frame before the WFC might need to consider furloughs or layoffs. With these changes, we were able to shift our in-person flagship event, the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, to a very successful virtual event. We have been able to reopen the Gift Shop and Exhibition Gallery and retrained staff have been crucial to not only bringing people safely in the see the current exhibit while making the previous exhibit that was cut short due to the statewide shutdown available online.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

Western Folklife Center (WFC) staff have remained nimble and creative, with many learning new skills as we had to re-focus public programming and marketing to online platforms. The WFC’s current marketing and online programming efforts continue to bring a significant positive profile of Elko through professionally-produced video vignettes and shows reaching immense worldwide audiences. These efforts demonstrate the long range commitment of our organization to our community, schools, businesses, artists, and visitors. Planning for an in-person 2022 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has already begun and staff will continue to work on their newly acquired skills, as well as, return to the regular aspects of their job. Due to the success of our virtual event, we are trying to weave in a virtual aspect to our events that will broaden our audience and keep the arts in the minds and hearts of all.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
8/3/20212020 91.88
2/1/20202019 90.60
9/3/20192018 85.01
5/1/20192018 81.43

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to it's Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

10/1/20182017 75.52
12/22/20172016 77.88
11/1/20162015 86.51
6/1/20162014 84.34
Rating Version: 2.0
10/1/20152014 85.32
7/1/20142013 86.41
8/1/20132012 83.78
5/1/20122011 75.98
9/20/20112010 73.82
Rating Version: 1.0
10/1/20102009 79.94
11/1/20092008 82.59
3/1/20092007 77.37
5/1/20072006 88.46
7/1/20062005 90.19
9/1/20052004 82.20

...   Impact & Results


This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.


Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

Western Folklife Center cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.

Do you work at Western Folklife Center? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Western Folklife Center reported its three largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$806,362

Spent in most recent FY

48%

Percent of program expenses


"THE NATIONAL COWBOY POETRY GATHERING" IS A GRAND CELEBRATION OF WESTERN PEOPLE, THEIR LIFESTYLES AND TRADITIONS. AS JANUARY TURNS TO FEBRUARY, COWBOYS, RANCHERS, RURAL AND URBAN PEOPLE TRAVEL EN MASS ... (More)


$142,514

Spent in most recent FY

8%

Percent of program expenses


MERCHANDISE SALES - THE CENTER MAINTAINS A YEAR-ROUND CULTURAL CENTER IN THE HISTORIC PIONEER HOTEL BUILDING LOCATED IN ELKO, NEVADA, FROM WHICH IT PROVIDES CULTURAL EVENTS AND MERCHANDISE SALES TO BO ... (More)


$442,450

Spent in most recent FY

26%

Percent of program expenses


CULTURAL PROGRAMS AND OTHER EVENTS ARE ACTIVITIES, WHICH INCLUDES A MUSEUM, EXHIBITS, AND REVOLVING COLLECTIONS TO ENHANCE AND PROMOTE THE COWBOY CULTURAL HERITAGE.


...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by Western Folklife Center is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


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Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission


The Western Folklife Center uses story and cultural expression to connect the American West to the world.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.


Explore and give voice to traditional and dynamic cultures of the American West.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.


Goal One: Establish a broad channel of distribution for our content and archives through an aggressive media development strategy.

Goal Type: Focus on core programs to achieve mission and scale back on programs not seen as core.


Goal Two: Determine the highest and best use of our current facilities to include potential earned revenue generating opportunities.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Three: Generate revenue in the amount of $2,117,303 from both earned and contributed sources sufficient to sustain the activity and needs determined within this plan.

Goal Type: This goal reflects our commitment to further our advocacy work for our organization and or cause area.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


What has gotten in the way of your oganization pursuing this investment?

COVID-19 has affected all dimensions of our organization - financial, operational, programmatic, and community relations. The financial impact of COVID-19 in the past year was significant. Western Folklife Center (WFC) leadership and board have managed through the financial losses to this point. WFC is fiscally sound with controls in place including independent financial audits, oversight from an active finance committee, and a responsible budget for the current fiscal year. In 2020, staff transitioned to work remotely, while exhibitions, facility rentals, and other programs, including our flagship event the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, were closed and reopened in phases according to public safety guidelines. Staff pivoted to serve our far flung audiences and artists through online programming strategies. To accomplish this staff has taken on new roles, learned new skills, and adapted to remote work.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.


This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Raising Awareness

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Based in Elko, NV, the Western Folklife Center (WFC) is a local and regional cultural center with an exhibition gallery, 300-seat multi-use theater, 20-seat black box theater, historic saloon, gift shop, and archives preserving our over 40-year history of fieldwork and documentation. Governed by a Board of Trustees and a National Advisory Council made up of leaders in Western cultural life, the 8 full-time, 4 part-time, and 2 contract staff work year-round in Elko and around the West, assisted by a cadre of seasonal staff, members, stakeholders and volunteers. As part of efforts to serve and engage underrepresented rural communities, the WFC regularly contracts with community scholars and cultural specialists to serve as fieldworkers, consultants, guest curators, program hosts, and media producers, most recently in programs sharing the artistry of Black, Shoshone/Paiute, veteran, and Basque communities in the region.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.


With COVID, staff transitioned to work remotely, while exhibitions, facility rentals, and other programs, including our flagship event the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (NCPG), were closed and reopened in phases according to public safety guidelines, resulting in significant loss in earned and contributed income and draw down in cash reserves. Staff pivoted to serve our far flung audiences and artists through online programming strategies, such as a 10-hour virtual NCPG, online exhibitions, making 12 full shows from previous NCPG's available for streaming by Western Folklife Center members, and 2 to 3 performances per week available to the public via Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube. We are still recovering from the wave created by COVID and hope to reestablish some of our regular programming soon, including our week long NCPG.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information

Unscored

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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership


Kristin Windbigler

Executive Director

Jonathan Griggs

Chairman

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.


Culture & Community Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by Western Folklife Center is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of an organization's Culture and Community by measuring its Constituent Feedback practices (see report below). Constituent Feedback data provides 100% of the basis for the initial evaluation of the Culture & Community Beacon.


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Culture & Community Report

100

of 100 points

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback

Full Credit


This organization reported that it is collecting feedback.


Here's how this organization is listening and learning from the people they serve:


How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Suggestion box/email


How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, Other means


With whom does your organization share the feedback you got from the people you serve?

Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners


What challenges does your organization face in collecting feedback from the people you serve?

It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time


Briefly describe a recent change that your organization made in response to feedback from the people you serve.

Recent survey feedback regarding how we deliver information (ticket sales and event promo brochure, event schedule, program book) has guided us to make changes in what information is offered only online, what is printed and mailed, and what is printed as an educational keepsake. Our constituents represent a wide range of ages with varying degrees of technical abilities and broadband access and we continue to try to design programs and communications that are mindful of these differences.



Methodology


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We've partnered with GuideStar by Candid to survey organizations about their feedback practices. Nonprofit organizations can fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile to receive a rating.


Charity Navigator awards full credit for this Beacon to every nonprofit that is eligible for an Encompass Rating that completes the survey, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. This data is not evaluated for quality at this time. Validation will be added in future iterations of this Beacon.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.


Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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