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SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund

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From today's e-mail notice from SFB:
We are acutely aware of the immediate and profound impact of this crisis on virtually every member of our community and our beloved Ballet, too, as it strikes in the middle of our performance season. We are facing a loss of at least $9.5 million. 

Today we are launching the SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund to support our dancers, musicians, students, and staff during this uncertain time. I am hopeful that you are in a position to renew your annual fund gift of $80 or even $200, should circumstances permit. All additional support will go directly towards keeping our workforce paid and with health insurance.   

We will weather this together and emerge a stronger community for it. You are key to the livelihood and artistry of SF Ballet, and I thank you for it.

With gratitude,
Danielle St.Germain-Gordon
Chief Development Officer

Edited by pherank
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20 minutes ago, Terez said:

Thanks for sharing this. Definitely worth a dig into my pockets. $9.5 million - oh, wow. Might need to dig deeper into that pocket than expected.

Don't worry, Terez - you're not expected to cover all that.  ;)

It's half a season of losses, so yeah, it's going to hurt a lot. All the more important for SFB to start making money online. And take in twice the number of donations this year.

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Latest SFB e-mail about the Critical Relief Fund:

"Just over one week ago, we launched the Together We Are More phase of the SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund. Through your incredible teamwork and powerful voices sharing our message, we've had 10 teams and 23 individuals start fundraising on our behalf, helping us bring the total amount of the Critical Relief Fund to over $460,000. Whether you are a team of one or 100, you are a critical part of making sure the joy of dance and live performances continue again

SF Ballet Orchestra is comprised of musicians who join together to play their part to make beautiful music, and we can't wait to share our work with the community once again. In the meantime, get to know us better! Every day at 11am on either Facebook or Instagram, you can find a new video from one of our members saying hello and sharing music as we shelter in place."

--Cordula Merks
Concertmaster, SF Ballet Orchestra

Edited by pherank
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An e-mail I received form SFB on April 21st stated:

SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund
We are grateful and humbled the Hearst Foundation awarded us $500,000 to support our workforce after necessary performance suspensions. We're not financially out of the woods, but we're heartened by this display of faith! Will you celebrate with us in supporting the SF Ballet family through our Critical Relief Fund?
So combining current audience donations with the Hearst Foundation grant brings things to a little over 1 million dollars, which is great. But they are facing a $9.5 million dollar loss, so it's going to be a long year for SFB and everyone else dealing with work stoppage.
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Some good news from SFB, and a new fundraising challenge:

We are incredibly excited to announce that the SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund has received a transformational gift from a new anonymous donor. Join our dancers as they share the news.

Moved by the outpouring of support from community members like you, today we set a challenge of 1,000 new gifts of any amount by the end of May. Help us get closer to our goal of having as many gifts as we have seats in the War Memorial Opera House: 3,126. SF Ballet is only as strong as our vibrant community and the generous support we receive from people like you. Will you help us by sharing this message with your community, or even by making an additional gift?


Edited by pherank
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I just received the latest update from SFB regarding the company's fund raising progress, and I'm going to post it in its entirety below:


So much has happened since, sadly, we suspended the remainder of the 2020 SF Ballet Season and returned to our homes to shelter-in-place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SF Ballet artists, staff, faculty, students, volunteers, and board members have been keeping our communities safe by following public health orders and protocols. It has been perhaps one of the most devastating moments in our history; however, it is turning out to be one of our most dynamic times, as we rethink how we create, how we connect, and how we manage through a public health pandemic that is changing on a daily basis. Our main objective is to keep ballet alive and our future viable. Since March 17 when we closed the doors to our studios, SF Ballet has strived to do the right thing. We have banded together with one objective: to support our artists, workforce, and community, and in doing so have emerged in many ways at the forefront of our industry.

Over the last seven weeks, we asked you to consider donating back your tickets or applying a credit towards next year, and 95% of you elected to do so. (If you haven’t contacted us about the status of your tickets, there is still time to do so by visiting this form.) Your trust and loyalty are testament that despite even the bleakest of predictions, you believe in our return.         

For now, we want to update you on the status of SF Ballet and SF Ballet School. The magnitude of this crisis is real, but so is the fortitude of everyone who cares about SF Ballet. Amazing work has been accomplished in a short period of time, including:

    •    SF Ballet securing a loan from the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program to help pay our artists and our workforce through June 30, 2020.
    •    We are curating for the world, all-access, full-length and signature repertoire works performed by the company in HD format, enhanced with public programming. In addition, our dancers, musicians, faculty, and educators are creating a variety of unique content available on all social media channels. Since shelter-in-place, more than 1 million people have viewed and engaged with these digital offerings, and there is more to come.
    •    SF Ballet School has reimagined how to connect with students at the SF Unified School District via public access television. We are also offering over 80 live online classes per week while exploring what professional training may look like in the future.

Currently, we are actively reimagining our 2021 Season. We know that we will need to be adaptable and that it will not be "business as usual." SF Ballet is committed to making the "unusual" as inspiring and creative as we can. We have worked with the War Memorial Performing Arts Center to put the seat replacement project on hold so we can return to our performance venue without disruption when City officials say it is safe to do so. However, first we must have a plan to safely return dancers to our studios to take company class while still observing socially distanced protocols. We are working diligently to find a safe path back to rehearsal and performance. The reality is that without artists and the workforce that supports them, we are not a viable ballet company.

With that in mind, in March we launched the SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund. To date, we have raised nearly $3 million towards our future. We may not know how long it will take us to return to the stage, but we do know we will need our artists and those that support them regardless of the timeline.

In a few weeks, we will be asking our family of subscribers to take a "Leap of Faith" with us, and commit to renewing their ticket packages for our 2021 Season—a season that we are committed to delivering, be it in the War Memorial Opera House, or via a digital streaming option, or a combination of both. Creativity and innovation are at the heart of this company, and the past weeks have shown that we can employ those assets even during the most challenging times. 

On behalf of every member of the entire SF Ballet organization, we thank you for making us a part of your life. We believe that while we may be sheltered, we are not shattered. SF Ballet is committed to creating, engaging, and sharing the joy of dance with as wide an audience as possible. Your ongoing trust, support, and love of ballet constantly remind us that we are in this together; and together we are more.


Helgi Tomasson
Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer

Kelly Tweeddale
Executive Director


Edited by pherank
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Latest SFB e-mail (note the implications of "Your support allows us to reimagine how we present high-caliber artistry across a myriad of platforms"):

San Francisco Ballet's community turned one of our most devastating moments into an opportunity to be creative and forward-thinking. We asked for help by launching the Critical Relief Fund and you responded with support beyond what we originally thought was possible – over $3.2 million since March – and we are so grateful. But, for our work to continue, we need to reach our goal of $5 million by June 30.

Will you help us once more with an additional gift to carry us into next season? Any additional gifts will be matched dollar for dollar up to $1 million by members of our Board of Trustees through June 30.
Your support allows us to reimagine how we present high-caliber artistry across a myriad of platforms and spread the joy of dance to the widest possible audience. Thank you for all that you have done for us!
Edited by pherank
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Today's e-mail for SFB regarding fundraising:

We are grateful and happy to share an update on our efforts to weather the COVID-19 pandemic over the past four months here at San Francisco Ballet.

On March 24, we launched the SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund as we endeavored to support our workforce through the uplifting voices and unwavering support of our community. After suspending more than half of our 2020 Repertory Season, we faced two devastating losses: earned revenue and, perhaps more profoundly, the ability to share our art form in person – a stark new reality that countless performing arts institutions continue to face both here in the Bay Area and beyond.

We pivoted with digital innovation to embolden the mission of SF Ballet to share our joy of dance with the widest possible audience, both locally and around the world, and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in SF Ballet School. We shared weekly streaming performances from our archive, continued professional company and school training through classes taught on the Zoom platform, and we participated in the pilot of SF Loves Learning, a weekly arts/dance education television program that reached more than 10,000 San Francisco Unified School District students who were also sheltering in place.

Thanks to your generosity over the past few months, we also kept our workforce of dancers, musicians, and staff paid with health benefits in place. An unprecedented crisis sparked unprecedented generosity – we raised $5,002,812 from more than 3,200 people, surpassing our audacious goal of $5 million. We have many words of thanks to write but thought it best for you to see and hear them from us directly:


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From an e-mail I received today from SFB:

Reinventing How We Say Thanks To Donors

We are pleased to announce revamped benefits for donors during the 2021 Virtual Season. Join us and enjoy new ways to engage with SF Ballet.
"Support the San Francisco Ballet as we reinvent for the digital world
SF Ballet has an insatiable drive to connect and create, even in the most challenging of times. Our artists have continued to be resilient, creative, and adaptive as we envision how to reinvent ballet for today and the future. Your tax-deductible gift will help us extend our stage to a digital platform—one that has appeared on laptops, phones, tablets, and screens big and small for audiences across the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world!"
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