Founded in 2001, the Salt Lake Film Society serves the local community by providing educational opportunities through thousands of screenings each year.
As “Utah’s home of independent film,” the SLFS also fosters film talent and cultivates film appreciation. But it was an entrepreneurship program offered by Salt Lake Community College that helped the organization’s leaders reexamine their focus.
Tori Baker, president and CEO of the SLFS, first learned about the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program when the arts nonprofit produced a segment about it at another event. The program supports local entrepreneurs through access to education, capital and business support services.
“I always thought more about the underlining of the organization and that brought up the most unusual aspects,” Baker says when describing her time at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. “We live and breathe ethics and purpose, and that was different to other entrepreneurs.”
Baker, who has always been heavily involved in the arts and film, has been CEO of SLFS for 16 years now.
“Running a nonprofit is not the same as a small business; there’s a difference in sustainability,” Baker says, adding that nonprofits operate using more state dollars, grants and donations, while small businesses normally use the earnings of the services that they offer.
Barb Guy, head of public relations and marketing for the SLFS, understands the funding, sustainability and managing the reputation of the organization. She stresses the importance of engaging with the community and building a relationship with the public.
“I get to interact with a lot of people and it’s my favorite thing,” Guy says.
Guy also says the SLFS has a sponsorship manager who oversees sponsorship activities and actively works to make people aware of the arts nonprofit.
The SLFS is the only film-representing venue with permanent facilities for independent film in Salt Lake City. Baker sees how the film industry is transitioning and where the SLFS needs to adapt to continue making an impact.
“There’s a generation that needs that film and storytelling that we provide,” Baker says. “You want to look at shaping the program with the new resources and innovations.”