November 12th, 2023
Dear parents, volunteer staff, and cast members;
To continue my commitment to keeping you up to date on the happenings of the Academy Theatre, be it about the past, present, or future I am writing this memo to you, as an important family member of our unique organization.
When the Academy Theatre succeeds, we all succeed and we all reap the benefits of this incredible community we have built here. But, when we come short of our successes or have failures threatening our existence, then we all lose; and most importantly, the students, our children, will lose the most.
Every year since the pandemic we have come short of meeting our end-of-the-year budget, a crucial factor in determining if we open back up in January. There are many reasons why we have not met our yearly budget and those reasons are seemingly becoming a pattern. Not enough attendance at our shows or events, not enough support from neighboring communities, low student enrollments, and parent and volunteer staff involvement. This year we have lost 3 students and their families and 3 volunteer staff members. And although we did make a difference in raising some of our fees and charges this year, it has not been sufficient.
In October, each student had their own peer-to-peer campaign with a personal link that they can share with their families, friends, or acquaintances in humbly asking for a contribution. Out of the 13 students we have, only 7 participated in the month-long campaign. This was part of their curriculum as a student of the Academy Theatre focusing on the importance of charitable giving and community involvement and the many other ethics we teach here.
For the past 17 years, I have continued to develop, facilitate, direct, and administrate the Academy Theatre as my giving back and charitable work to the youth of our community. And, I am more than happy and willing to continue giving our students a pocketful of knowledge and skills, giving each one an advantageous step to their life successes whether that be high school, college, or the workforce... but I can't do it alone.
We desperately need business and corporate donors, (I have exhausted my personal contacts that have saved us every year for the past 17 years,) we currently don't have a funding team that can focus and concentrate solely on donor and donor management, we don't have enough student enrollments, we don't have enough volunteer staff and board members, we need more people to attend our general board meetings and we don't get many people to attend our events, shows or fundraisers but, we still continue to try to treat each event professionally. regardless.
We do have two other campaigns coming up that may help us. #GivingTuesday is November 28th, it's the national day of charitable giving where citizens and businesses donate to non-profits. We will be pushing our own agenda (as we do every year) for this event and promotions will be going out very soon via email, social platforms, and texts. Our last ditch effort after that will be the Year-End-Giving campaign for those businesses or people to take advantage of tax deductions for their 2023 taxes.
I am asking each and every one of you involved someone in the Academy Theatre to reach out to people in your circle or network. Each student will once again have their personal peer-to-peer link that can easily be shared via text, email, and even on their social platforms. I have encouraged them to write their story about the Academy Theatre along with the link when they ask for contributions. Please ask about this link and know that you can also ask on your child's behalf to your contacts. Here is the general link and what it looks like: academytheatre.betterworld.org/campaigns/tatpledge2023 and also can be shared.
So where do we go from here you may be asking and you may be saying that this is not what I signed up for, but just know that we are just sharing our issue, what we think may have happened, and a couple of ideas for solutions. So, if you have any contacts, businesses, or companies that you can speak with on our behalf, that would be great. Another way is to help your child raise awareness and funds using their shareable personal links, if you would like your own personal link that you can customize, please let me know and I can set one up for you.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas, please, please contact me. I know that with an enthusiastic driven team of students, parents, and staff, incredible things can happen.