"Everyone here at NYCB understands the critical role individual philanthropy plays in the Company's success. We simply would not survive without the generosity of the [named individuals]...and without your help."
The amount of the named individual’s gift? A hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Can it really be true that a hundred and fifty thousand dollars (or even twice that sum) is all that stands between the company and the figure in black from La Valse? The same letter, or one very similar, arrived again this week, which does seem to suggest a certain urgency, but is hinting that the company is entering a death spiral really an effective marketing strategy? (see: Dance Theater of Harlem) Does the philanthropy of individuals really play such a very crucial role in the company, or is that just a meme rich people like to have reiterated as often as possible? (see: the University of Virginia)
I am sure I have given the wording of this letter more scrutiny than it will really bear (the one from Jenifer Ringer about toe shoes was much more effective, or at least, better-written). The note of desperation (“we simply would not survive”) may be inadvertent. Artists have always depended on the patronage of rich individuals--if there is any change, it is that the rich individuals seem more hungry for publicity (and possibly not as rich as they used to be). But there have been so many changes to the company since Katherine Brown took charge of this side of things, I am curious to know if her net impact is nudging the company towards the red or the black.