A TRIBUTE TO PEGGY AMSTERDAM
The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s Annual Meeting was also a tribute to Peggy Amsterdam, who had served as its President for 10 years before succumbing to cancer on Dec. 26, 2009 at the age of 60. A powerful advocate for the arts, Peggy was an energetic and courageous leader who strongly believed that arts and culture define Greater Philadelphia and bind its people together in a community. Eric Fraint recalled this remarkable woman who doubled GPCA's membership and whose legacy includes re-establishing the city’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and preventing the elimination of city funding to a thriving arts sector.
Thank you, Hal, for that very nice introduction. And thank you to Tom, the staff, and the board for giving our firm the opportunity to sponsor this event again this year. Your Part-Time Controller provides accounting and financial reporting services exclusively to nonprofit organizations. Our goal is to build stronger nonprofits, one accounting department at a time. However, what we really do is: HELP OUR CLIENTS SLEEP AT NIGHT! If financial problems are keeping you up at night, call me.
But instead of me telling you more about us, I’d like to use my brief time up here to talk about Peggy and to tell a brief story about her. I first met Peggy at a meeting over at the Pew Charitable Trusts many years ago. We were introduced by Greg Rowe to begin a conversation about an idea for a new project which later came to be known as the Cultural Data Project.
Peggy and I soon became friends, and later she became a client when she asked our firm to help the Cultural Alliance with its accounting. She was later a colleague when she joined me on the Board of The Philadelphia Foundation. Peggy was always sweet, smiling, upbeat, and positive. Yet she commanded the respect and attention of all those she lobbied on behalf of the arts community.
Even after her diagnosis, Peggy continued to maintain an active schedule, including vacations to exotic places. One such vacation was to Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands, in January 2007. She took with her on her trip a Your Part-Time Controller baseball cap, such as this one here. (By the way, these hats are only given to our staff and to our clients! If you want one, you will either have to join our staff or, better yet, hire us!!).
When she returned from her vacation she emailed me a photograph of herself. She was standing on the beach wearing a one-piece bathing suit, sunglasses, and our hat. Loving the picture immediately, I emailed it out to all of our staff. Within the hour I received a somewhat angry email from one of our newly hired staff members who did not know Peggy. She wanted to know why I was circulating a photo of what she called, and I quote, “a hot, scantily clad woman!” Very unprofessional of me, my staff member said.
I told this story later to Peggy. She had a good laugh and said she felt complimented that my staff member thought she was hot!
Peggy will be missed. But I’m pleased to say that Peggy’s legacy will live on in the hands of our new excellent and very talented executive director, Tom Kaiden, with whom it will be my pleasure to serve as a new Alliance Board member.
Oh, one final note. Last year we brought our staff at YPTC up on stage to do a song and dance routine, but we ran out of time. Don’t miss this meeting next year: we may have a surprise for you. Thank you all.