WASHINGTON, D.C. - With another summer in the books at the Chautauqua Institution’s New York campus, the focus now comes back to Washington, D.C. It’s the start of year two for President Michael Hill and his team in the nation’s capital.

“We were envisioning what it might be,” Hill said referencing our 2018 interview about the D.C. expansion, “and now we have a year of data about what it is.”

Their satellite office in Northwest D.C., located at 1602 L. St. NW, is the most visible example of the institution’s strategic plan as the non-profit nears its 150th anniversary in 2024. The goal: to build upon its nine-week summer season at the 750-acre Western New York campus, and add year-round programming in New York, Washington, and even globally.

“In many ways, not only is this the political capital of our nation, but it’s a major hub for the literary arts, the visual and performing arts, and for other thought leadership,” Hill said.

But more programming means raising more money. Over the last year, the Institution has hired two full-time fundraisers based in Washington. The expansion is already paying dividends, with leaders hosting more than 100 meetings in and around D.C. with partners and collaborators, donors and staff members, according to the institution’s new Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Shannon Rozner.

“Having this office and this space is a good entrée for a lot of people,” Rozner said, noting ease of travel and connection to three nearby airports. “It’s just easier to convene here first and then introduce them to the grounds.”

Developing partnerships with some well-established groups here in Washington is another key part of Chautauqua’s strategic plan. So far, they have been working with National Geographic, the Brookings Institution among others.

The D.C. area is also the third largest market for the Institution, outside of Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Hill said.

While the organization’s Washington office isn’t big enough to hold the types of events that have made the New York campus a world-renowned attraction, it’s the building block that will allow the Institution to host more lectures and live music all year long like it used to do.

“One of the great things about D.C. is that if one wishes to convene a group, there are plenty of options,” Hill said. “So, we’re starting to look at what that means for us.”