KERA Arts Story Search

Looking for events? Click here for the Go See DFW events calendar.

Becky Young To Retire From TACA

by Jerome Weeks 13 Sep 2016 11:24 AM

In her 18 years at The Arts Community Alliance, Young has raised the group’s annual grant-giving to local performing arts groups from less than $300,00 to more than $1 million.


becky-young-smallBecky Young, who has worked at The Arts Community Alliance for 18 years, will be stepping down as president and executive director Dec. 31st. In that time, TACA has distributed nearly $15 million in grants to area performing arts groups.  To give some idea of what Young has accomplished:  She helped lead TACA’s growth from awarding less than $300,000 per year to giving more than $1 million annually the past nine years. She also established the annual Perforum — now in its eighth year — a symposium of local arts groups tackling major issues facing them with invited national guest speakers.

Young came to Dallas to work with the Dallas Symphony in marketing and then was public relations director for the SMU Meadows School of the Arts. She later established her own firm, The Young Company and then assumed the new position of director of external affairs at the Dallas Theater Center.

Succeeding her as president and executive director will be Wolford McCue, who is a partner in the strategy and management consulting firm Mitchell & McCue and a member of TACA’s board of directors.

The full release:

Rebecca Young to retire as TACA executive leader 

Will step down December 31, 2016; not‐for‐profit authority and longtime TACA board member
Wolford McCue named successor as Carlson President and Executive Director

DALLAS – The woman who has orchestrated the growth of TACA (The Arts Community Alliance)
into a preeminent supporter of Dallas performing arts is exiting stage left. Becky Young will
retire December 31, 2016, as Carlson President and Executive Director, announced Donna
Wilhelm, chairman of the TACA board of directors. Young’s retirement caps an exemplary, 18‐
year tenure as TACA’s management and staff leader. Under her leadership, TACA has
distributed grant awards totaling nearly $15 million, with more than $1 million awarded
annually over the past nine years to local performing arts organizations.

Replacing Young as president and executive director is Wolford McCue, partner in the strategy
and management consulting firm Mitchell & McCue and a member of TACA’s board of
directors. The board approved McCue’s appointment September 8, and he will assume the
position on January 3, 2017.

A background for leadership and success

Young joined TACA as executive director in 1999, having gained extensive experience in arts
management and knowledge of the Dallas performing arts scene through a variety of roles.
Recruited to Dallas from her hometown of Louisville by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, she
served on the symphony marketing staff during the lead up to construction and opening of the
Meyerson Symphony Center. She later was public relations director for the SMU Meadows
School of the Arts, where she managed the Hamon Arts Library opening celebration and
Meadows Award presentations to creative forces Merce Cunningham, John Houseman, Arthur
Miller, Robert Rauschenberg and Mstislav Rostopovich.

Young went on to form The Young Company, a public relations firm serving primarily nonprofit
clients, including the Dallas Theater Center, the Fort Worth Ballet (now Texas Ballet Theater)
and Theatre Three. She later assumed the newly created position of director of external affairs
for the Dallas Theater Center.

Fostering growth and innovation

When Young joined TACA, the organization’s two‐person staff was distributing less than
$300,000 in grant funds annually. Today, annual distributions have increased fivefold to $1.5
million and staffing to eight professionals. The grant total includes distributions from two
artistic excellence funds created under Young’s leadership, each awarding $100,000 annually:
the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund established in 2011, and the Bowdon and
Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund created in 2015.

“It has been a privilege to serve Dallas’ thriving and dynamic cultural community through the
work that TACA does as a grantmaker, convener and capacity builder,” said Young. “I am proud
of what the staff and board have accomplished together, and I know there are exciting
opportunities and contributions to come.”

Other milestones during Young’s tenure include establishment of the TACA Perforum, a
symposium now in its eighth year that brings experts from across the country together with
North Texas organizations to explore pressing issues facing arts communities. Young also
oversaw the relocation of TACA’s offices to the Dallas Arts District, revamping of the
organization’s general operating and project grants process, and creation of the North Texas
Cultural Co‐op, an advanced digital platform for arts groups to exchange donor lists. She was
instrumental in securing Dallas’s inclusion among six cities participating in the Bloomberg
Philanthropies Arts Innovation and Management (AIM) program, which is providing arts leaders
with management training in fundraising, audience development and board member
engagement over a two‐year period.

“Becky is that rare combination of an arts person, a business person, and a people person” said
TACA board chair Wilhelm. “She has devoted her career to the vitality and growth of the arts in
Dallas. Her steady management hand has made it possible for TACA volunteer leaders to stay
focused on sustaining, building and providing the strategic vision for the organization’s arts
support activities. Finally, she is a woman who has put the performing arts at the core of her
heart and enabled them to enrich the soul of Dallas. “

TACA has received several awards for its contributions to the North Texas cultural community
[see list below]. In 2015, Young was named to D CEO Magazine’s “Dallas 500” list of the most
powerful business leaders in Dallas‐Fort Worth.