Belinda Chun, the founder of Gallery House in Toronto, describes the Sackler controversy as a wake-up call.
Staff working in fundraising departments all have their own moral and ethical compass, she said, but it also comes back to the senior management.
“It varies from one organization to another, in terms of what kind of ethical rules that they abide by.”
Chun has worked in development and fundraising at major Canadian arts institutions. She said the sector is “really starved for donations and support.”
Ticket revenues and government funding are important, but many museums and galleries also rely heavily on private donations for everything from operations to programming to community outreach. As a result, small or mid-sized organizations “who desperately do need the funds” might face more difficulties turning down donations, she said.
The current wave of scrutiny is a positive thing, she said, because arts organizations should be considering ethical concerns and regularly updating their policies that deal with financial gifts.