obt: omg! they did it!

June 12 benefit (photo © Blaine Truitt Covert)
We breathe a sigh of relief that Oregon Ballet Theatre was able to raise the $750,000 necessary to continue on to their 25th anniversary season. This is a wonderful company, with talent and style, and it’s great to know that they’re still alive and gracefully kicking.

Here are a few interesting numbers:

  • 2,750 people purchased tix to the June 12th benefit performance: DANCE UNITED
  • 50 dancers, from 13 companies, (14 from OBT) performed for DANCE UNITED
  • 967 donors from 26 states accounted for more than $500,000 of the money raised

I wish SeattleDances had been there… Here are two reports from Portland, though:

Grant Butler’s article from the Oregonian


Martha Ullman West’s review for the Oregonian

OBT’s press release follows here, verbatim:

“Portland, Ore…Oregon Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Christopher Stowell and Executive Director Jon Ulsh announced today that the company has successfully raised the $750,000 needed to ensure OBT’s survival beyond the June 30th close of its fiscal year. As of the end of business on Wednesday, June 17th, the total amount raised through fundraising and ticket sales to OBT’s June 12th benefit performance, DANCE UNITED, stood at $853,271.

“All told, 967 donors from 26 states donated more than $500,000 to Oregon Ballet Theatre since it was announced in late May that a recession-related fundraising shortfall, coupled with the devastating effects of Portland’s December 2008 snowstorms on OBT’s Nutcracker ticket sales, had left the company short of the cash needed to continue operations beyond the end of June. In addition, 2,750 people purchased tickets to the nearly sold out June 12th benefit, raising an additional $330,000.

“When it was revealed on Tuesday of this week that OBT was approaching its goal, a number of donors stepped forward to close the final gap, including Portlanders Eric and Ronna Hoffman, whose gift of $20,000 officially brought the total to $750,000. Other June gifts and grants in excess of $20,000 were received from:

“Bill Cortelyou ($25,000)
Howard Hedinger ($25,000)
Henry Hillman ($25,000)
The James W. Fowler Company ($25,000)
The Swigert Foundation ($25,000)
Nani Warren ($25,000)
The Oregon Arts Commission ($20,000 Gap Grant)

“”All of us at OBT are incredibly moved by how many people, not just here but all across the country, have overwhelmingly demonstrated that they care about the arts and the future of professional ballet in this city,” said Stowell.

“According to Ulsh, fundraising efforts are ongoing. “Thanks to the incredible generosity of thousands of people, we’ve raised what we need to get us through the rest of this fiscal year,” he said. “Every additional dollar that comes in gives us a head start on our fundraising goal for FY2010.” Beginning July 1, OBT will begin operating under a budget that is 28% leaner than the current one. “We’ve made a number of very difficult but judicious cuts designed to safeguard us against the sort of danger we’ve just narrowly avoided,” said Ulsh.

“”Oregon Ballet Theatre just received an incredible gift from the people of Portland,” said Stowell. “It’s our responsibility to not simply be good stewards of that money, but also to demonstrate to the community our ongoing commitment to being a fiscally responsible, sustainable organization.””