“Campaign for our Future” starts its public phase with $700,000 in hand
By Peter Alexander
The Colorado Music Festival & Center for Musical Arts have announced a new fundraising initiative, Campaign for our Future, in coordination with the CMF’s 40th anniversary.
With a total goal of $1 million, campaign co-chairs Jack Walker and TK Smith have announced that before the beginning of the pubic phase of the campaign, they already have in excess of $700,000 from more than 70 individual gifts. While it is normal for fundraising efforts to secure major “leadership gifts” before making a public announcement of a goal, 70% is an extraordinarily large portion to have in hand this early in the process.
“I think we surprised ourselves with our efficiency,” CMF/CMA executive director Elizabeth McGuire says.
Two individual gifts were particularly significant in reaching the $700,000 milestone: $250,000 from the Glenn Korff Foundation in memory of long-time CMF supporter Glenn Korff, and $90,000 from the SeiSolo Foundation in memory of Hans and Dolores Thurnauer, which will support performances and special projects by guest artists. In another significant initiative, there was a $100,000 crowd-funded gift in appreciation of past president and board member Caryl Kassoy, who founded the CMF Young People’s Concert.
McGuire has been with the CMF/CMA for less than a year, but that time has seen real progress in securing the financial stability of the organization. “Some of the elements (of the Campaign for our Future) existed before I came on board,” she says. “It was an offshoot of the strategic plan that was developed before my time.”
She said it was CMF/CMA director of development and community partnerships Melissa Fathman who designed the campaign, which was then launched by the CMF/CMA board in October.
Although there have been rumors in Boulder of the CMF/CMA’s financial concerns, McGuire stresses that the organization is currently debt-free. ”The donations to this campaign are not going toward any debt repayment or recovery,” she says. “They are specifically for initiatives outlined in our strategic plan.”
Those initiatives are divided into four categories: education, orchestral excellence, innovation and sustainability. Of the four, McGuire singled out sustainability as particularly important. “That speaks to the organization’s future,” she says. “We wanted to create a cash buffer for the organization, so that we can withstand unforeseen or un-controllable circumstances.”
The current political climate in Washington, D.C., may be creating an immediate need. “We’ve written grants to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and received them for many years,” she says. “We applied in 2016 and received a letter from the NEA that said, ‘We don’t know that we can award grants. The future of the NEA is uncertain, so please be patient.’”
In addition to the early success of the Campaign for our Future, McGuire says “there are many other positive things that have been happening. We’ve had a substantial uptick in the amount of grants that we’ve not only applied for but that we’ve received in the past year—and I give Melissa (Fathman) credit for this.
“And I would say too, our sales for the festival are 30% greater than they were at this time last year. So there are a lot of things that contribute to rebuilding (the financial stability of CMF/CMA).”
You can learn more and make a contribution to the CMF/CMA Campaign for our Future and their “Support Us” Web page.