Good news: OBT beats the bank — for now

obt_thermometer1While Art Scatter was spending Thursday in the Columbia Gorge visiting the Maryhill Museum (more on that trip as soon as I get it written) our partner in crime Barry Johnson was busy reporting on Portland Arts Watch that Oregon Ballet Theatre has smashed through the ceiling of its emergency fund drive, raising $853,271 by the end of the day Wednesday.

Considering that its goal was $750,000 by June 30, that’s remarkable. And it doesn’t need to stop here. Maybe OBT can smash $1 million by June 30, which would help considerably in balancing next year’s reduced budget. OBT says it needs to raise $1.5 million in donations to meet its slashed-back budget of $4.8 million, down from a projected $6.7 million before the economy collapsed.

To break it down: A little more than $500,000 came from 976 individual donations, or an average of about $512. And it didn’t come just from Portland:  Money came from 26 states, which indicates how highly this company is thought of nationally. Eight donors gave $190,000 of that, in chunks of $25,000 or $20,000, which means there were a lot of $25, $50, $100, $150, $250 gifts from ordinary dance-lovers who dug deep, and their willingness to help made a big difference. In addition, last weekend’s big gala concert pulled in about $330,000.

Now it’s time for the heavy hitters to step up to the plate — the six-figure and seven-figure people. It’s essential to the long-term health of this company that it gain the confidence and regular support of the deep-pocket crowd. That $1.5 million for the coming year? It breaks down to about $29,000 a week — and that’s for a bare-bones budget. To build the company back to the $7 million level, and restore its full orchestra, is going to take a lot more than that.

The task has just begun. In the meantime, congratulations to everyone.