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Funding the Arts

I recently received an overwhelming donation of literature from a former theater professor. The books includes many scripts and plays for young audiences, but so far I’ve been consuming the resources related to managing and funding a theater company. Like any business owner, the bottom line is always top of mind.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, 85% of all theater arts organizations are registered 501 c 3 Non Profit businesses, which affords them the ability to apply for grant funding, request donations, and otherwise solicit charitable support for their operations.

In an earlier post I expressed several reasons why I opted to register TVCT as a limited liability company and not a non profit. I knew that the decision would require consider financial support from other sources like class fees that equate to about $10 per direct instruction hour, Production Sponsors (Thank you A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning and Washington Trust Bank), and, of course, ticket sales (“Alice in Wonderland” goes on sale Jan. 5!).

These traditional revenue sources are pretty obvious and will be (soon, I hope) the main income line for the company. However, as a start-up, I’m also forced to pursue other potential revenue sources. We are researching opportunities to partner with other non profit organizations and apply for grant funding. And it was recently brought to our attention the need for financial assistance for some families who want to attend our workshops and camps. We currently have a few, small scholarships available but hope to establish a fund for ongoing support. We want all youth to have access to our theater arts programming, regardless of their ability to pay.

I am, at heart, a very generous person. But having been an official business owner for nearly 6 months now, I have had to reign in my proclivity to simply give time and resources away, and consider the longevity of TVCT. I want this company to serve the community for years to come – this means an investment in financial resources both personally and from the community. Well, at least that is what the experts write in the volumes of books TVCT owns!

Thank you Dr. Lauterbach!