Sunday, December 20, 2009

State of the Art: Matching Fund / How we're doing

Greetings from Pacific Theatre.

A long letter, I know. If you don't have time to read it all, please just skip to the parts in bold lettering. But I wanted to give you a fairly thorough understanding of how your theatre company is progressing as we reach the end of this most challenging year – and a once-in-our-history opportunity to help us through.

A couple months ago I circulated a note describing Pacific Theatre's difficult situation in the wake of a summer in which our grants and donations fell $72,500 short of what was projected based on previous years. Almost a third of what we need for our entire season in two devastating months.

Thanks to many of you, we're still here, with our staff and our programming intact. Thank you.

One friend of the theatre stepped forward and replaced the $25,000 worth of matching funds which had been withdrawn by another donor – so if you gave to Pacific Theatre in response to our matching fund appeal this spring, those gifts have now all been matched. A number of you subscribed, others provided low-interest or no-interest loans to sustain us until deferred or delayed funding was forthcoming. And many have sent extra donations these past two months that are making an immense difference. Remember the end of It's A Wonderful Life? We've felt a bit like George Bailey, deeply moved as so many of our friends take extraordinary measures to see us through. Again, thank you.

We're not out of the woods yet, but we can see light ahead through the trees.

Each December, we pull together a special Christmas Matching Fund, so that your donations are doubled by a foundation and small number of added donors. In past seasons we have specified the amount we need to bring in to fully take advantage of that fund, which is usually somewhere between $12,000 and $20,000. This year only, because of Pacific Theatre's unusually difficult situation, a "silent partner" is willing to extend that fund by as much as an additional $30,000 or more – funds which truly will not be available again in future seasons – and if we "max out" that fund, we have just received word that we've been awarded another $22,000 federal government grant which would pay half of a much-needed new lighting system. (Our current dimming system has been literally on the verge of collapse since January of this year.) All told, as much as $68,000 of new donations can be matched by various sources over the next thirty days.

If all those good news numbers make is sound as though Pacific Theatre doesn't need you any more, that's exactly wrong. There are people who can match your gifts – and this is reliable funding, that will not be withdrawn on us – but every penny of it is predicated on your giving, between now and January 15.

And every penny of it is needed. In a different season, the new lighting equipment would be our top priority – this December, we can't even begin to address that need until we find at least another $30,000 to maintain our staff and programming. Quite specifically, The Passion Project (the performance art piece we are bringing in from New York as part of the PuSh Festival) needs another $13,000 in sponsorship from corporations, foundations or individuals to break even, and Refuge Of Lies (my own play, developed at Pacific Theatre, which played Off-Broadway a year ago) requires another $17,500. Our normal sources of funding for such works – The Vancouver Foundation and other groups which rely on interest generated from investments, or corporations which usually have a certain amount of discretionary sponsorship money for such projects – have not yet recovered from the global economic downturn. So we are turning to you.

Trust me, this won't be an ongoing situation. We have come up with some exhilarating new strategies to restructure our company's 2010-2011 season to work within these new fiscal realities. We'll still provide a remarkable array of sparkling shows that are "pure Pacific Theatre," but in ways that will take the strain off our staff and allow us not to have to make extra appeals to you, our community.

Meanwhile, though... Please consider sending us what you can over the next few weeks. Whether it's because you're reaching the end of your tax year, and want to round out your charitable donations. Or because it's Christmas, and divine largesse is in the air. Or just because you want to play a part to help Pacific Theatre leave behind our annus horribilis and move into a New Year with a new lease on our creative life...

Yet again, I say, thank you.

Ron Reed,
Artistic & Executive Director,
Pacific Theatre

To contribute to our Christmas Matching Campaign...

you can send or drop off your donations to
Pacific Theatre, 1440 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver BC Canada, V6H 1M8

If you'd like to use your credit card, you can also...

phone in your donations to our office (731-5483) or box office (604 731-5518)

or donate online at
(once there, click on the link "To Donate...")

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