Chops, Inc. is a Minneapolis-based arts nonprofit. Our current programs include an all-age winter guard, multi-school urban drumline, after-school scholastic drumlines, a professional and an amateur steel-drum band, and an educational Pan Outreach program that provides free steel-drum instruction to inner-city K-12 schools in the Greater Twin Cities. We have two full-time and 18 part-time staff members in our nonprofit organization. Chops also has a significant charitable gambling operation which employs more than 30 part-time and full-time staff.
Chops began as Chopstix, a marching percussion unit, in 1991 and obtained 501(c)(3) status in ‘97. Top Chops Brass Line was formed in ‘94 and we subsequently added indoor winter programming, including winter guard and drumline.
Our steel drum programs were founded in 2013 with the creation of the Pan-handlers Steel Drum Band. After performances, band members allowed audience members to try out the steel drums, which led to questions about how to learn to play pan. The idea of a “traveling school of pan” was born, and Chops launched the Pan Outreach Program as another way to carry out its mission of educating people of all ages in the art of music/performance. In 2018, we added Tin Cups, a steel-drum ensemble for amateur players.
Recently, we have begun a fiscal sponsorship program to support community-based performing groups in the urban core of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
We recognize that pervasive racial inequities in our educational and performing arts systems have led to inequitable access to the arts. In the past two years, our board of directors adopted an equity statement and quadrupled the percentage of our budget devoted to increasing access, participation and success in music/performance by underserved demographics.
We believe every person has a right to a well-rounded education that includes the arts and the benefits they bring, and we are focusing our equity efforts on two programs:
1) Our Pan Outreach program offers culturally-relevant music education to urban-core students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to engage in the arts. This program brings teaching artists and 24 steel drums to Title I schools, where students learn to play steel drum over the course of a free, 6 – 8 week residency.
2) Fiscal sponsorship of All City Music, a black-owned and operated LLC providing HBCU-style marching-arts programs to K-12 students in the urban core of Minneapolis. Chops offers funding, access to grants, and technical support to All City Music, while leaving artistic and operational control to community-driven leaders.
Annual Budget: $500,000 – Earned Income, Foundations, Other
Chops, Inc is seeking board members with skills in the following areas:
- Board Governance
- Financial Management
- Management and Leadership
- Strategic and Business Planning
- Number of members currently: 14
- Meeting time and frequency: 12 meetings annually
- Meeting location: Virtual
- Does nonprofit carry liability insurance? Yes
- Time Expectation: Up to 5 hours/month
- Financial Contribution Required: No
- Service on Committee Required: No
- Committees: Executive, Finance
- Length of Term: 3 Years
- Renewable: Yes