Lisa Sanborn spent most of her career as a public accountant before coming to the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) in 2022 as its new director of ﬁnance.
“I love it,” she said. “My oﬃce gets redecorated every few months.”
With close to 25 staﬀ members and an annual budget north of $2 million, the 60-year-old museum is a substantial pillar in the community and the state. It boasts satellite locations in Milwaukee and Madison and provides art for the governor’s mansion.
“We surprise a lot of people,” Lisa said. “Our exhibitions are amazing for the size museum we are. We feature artists from all across the state, and we bring in forward-looking art as well as historical pieces.”
When she arrived at MOWA, Lisa found a few friction points in the museum’s ﬁnancial operations. The museum accepted money into an account at one bank and made payments out of an account with another bank — for Lisa, this meant unnecessary check writing and delivery to a branch 45 minutes away.
As a volunteer treasurer at other nonproﬁts that bank with Horicon, Lisa saw a simple ﬁx for these ineﬃciencies.
“Horicon gets who we are, and they’re helpful to nonproﬁts,” she said. “I’ve seen that myself, so I was happy to make Horicon our home bank.”
In addition to saving on fees and enjoying a generally cleaner operation, Lisa found that Horicon understood the ﬁnancial nature of the nonproﬁt world. Like most museums, cash ﬂow comes cyclically. Donations and membership renewals tend to come at the end of the year, and though events and the gift shop tend to bring in some funds, stretching through the whole year can be challenging.
“It was no problem for them. They got it all set up, and we have all the right controls in place,” she said. “It works well.”
Throughout her career, Lisa said she’s worked with every type of bank you can think of, but the personal touch is what gets things done right. Lisa said it helps that Horicon has roots and a presence in the community. She’s come to know several members of the Horicon team through other volunteer organizations and activities. Anytime MOWA hosts an event — like its annual summer Art and Chalk Fest — there are sure to be faces from Horicon in the mix.
“They take the time to get to know you, and they’re never hard to get in touch with,” Lisa said. “Anytime I have a need, they’re always right there.”
As the museum celebrates 60 years in operation and 10 years in its current building, Lisa looks forward to their continued partnership and the next 10 years of cutting-edge Wisconsin art.