Meet Lynne Toye, Executive Director of the New Jersey Arts & Culture Recovery Fund which was established to ensure the survival, strength and sustainability of the state’s arts, cultural and historical sector during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about Lynne, how she used her love of the arts to break into the nonprofit world and what she likes to do in her spare time!
  1. How do you navigate the 6 “C”s of Nonprofit Sea Change? (Capacity, Curiosity, Conversation, Collaboration, Creativity, and Compassion)

The C’s that really hit home for me are compassion, creativity, capacity and collaboration.  

Compassion – being able to lead with compassion makes the nonprofit world distinct. It’s about more than dollar signs or balance sheets. When dealing with mission-based organizations, it’s about compassion and empathy particularly for organizations that are under resourced.

Creativity and Capacity – these go hand-in-hand. Organizations have to be extremely creative to carry out their missions with less resources, especially over the last two years. Not only did people have to figure out how to pivot, present work online and connect with people digitally, they also had to figure out how to make ends meet, navigate the new COVID compliance rules and address the challenges of isolation.

And finally, collaboration which is so important in general, but especially in times like this. We’ve really seen people prioritizing working together rather than individually to make a greater impact. And while we were required to be apart, I derived great satisfaction from working on teams and in community with others to make a positive impact.

  1. When did you realize you wanted to work in the nonprofit world? Tell us about this journey.

I started my career in banking and marketing and it was all about creative ways to present business principles. It was a fantastic learning experience and still informs the work I do today. However, when I began volunteering in arts non-profits, I realized what a great need there was for experienced administrators in the non-profit community. I eventually became involved in board work and volunteering in the arts sector. It was then that I knew I wanted to redirect my career path towards mission-based organizations. I have always enjoyed the arts and I’m a creative person at heart. I realized that I could do my best work when I was making the arts and creativity available to others. It’s a great intersection between my business background and my creative interests. I knew I could add value in conversations and in leadership. 

When I entered into the nonprofit world by doing board work, I began to hear some of the same narratives regarding challenges such as finding and retaining staff, succession planning, managing growth, and adapting to the changing cultural environment. Before social media really caught on, organizations didn’t have capacity to add marketing and social media staff, create and maintain websites, or people to new technology. This is an example of how small non-profits, especially, struggle to manage the many facets of running an organization.

Having the tremendous satisfaction of seeing outcomes really drove me to this work. It’s the reward from the process. Whether it was a culminating performance, a beautiful exhibit or a successful fundraising event – there is typically an outcome that is cause for celebration – and those moments, when all of the pieces of the puzzle are put together and everything makes sense, make it very satisfying to be a part of this work.

  1. What’s your favorite fun activity to do at the Central Jersey Shore?

For me, it’s going to the beach in the fall during the off-season. Also attending performances at local theaters – I love to go to Two River Theater in Red Bank.

  1. How do you practice self-care/stress relief? 

I enjoy independent films, film festivals and going to art exhibits, especially to support emerging artists. During the pandemic, getting outside for walks has been really important in helping me connect with nature and recharge. I’m also a painter and love to create with oil paints. Immersing myself in the arts is one of my favorite ways to practice self-care.

  1. Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou