ATC gets $200k challenge gift, 2 weeks to get it done

2014-06-25T16:16:00Z 2014-07-02T17:18:34Z ATC gets $200k challenge gift, 2 weeks to get it doneCathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Arizona Theatre Company has five days to raise the bulk of $200,000 that an anonymous donor offered to match.

The good news is that it doesn't have to raise all of the money to cash in; the donation will pay dollar-for-dollar raised.

The band news is that ATC has only raised about $30,000 and the deadline is Monday.

The donor made the offer on June 17, giving ATC a two-week window to come up with the money. 

”We’ll do the best we can and bring in the best we can,” ATC Managing Director Jessica Andrews said Wednesday. “It’s wonderful when people make those kinds of offers because it does trigger giving.”

ATC, which mounts professional theater productions in Phoenix and Tucson, can use the money. It’s trying to close a $1 million deficit that almost railroaded the company’s 2013-14 season and significantly eroded donor confidence.

An aggressive fundraising campaign last fall brought in $1 million, which helped the company pay its bills and make it through the season. Most of that money was raised from Tucson donors, including a $100,000 matching gift from Jim Click, Andrews said.

ATC, which has a $6 million annual budget, also increased ticket sales after lowering prices and saved money by operating at smaller staff levels.

The efforts have paid off; the company is anticipating ending the year in the positive when it closes the books on the fiscal year this month, Andrews said.

But while ATC has chipped a bit into the deficit, it will take a few seasons to erase it, she said.

”It won’t certainly eliminate the past deficit but it will get us in the right direction. We will make a little dent, but I don’t know where we will end up yet,” she said. “It is going to take more than the one year to get us back to the place where people are feeling that we have recovered.”

ATC is coming off a tumultuous year that saw the resignations last summer of longtime Artistic Director David Ira Goldstein and controversial managing director Mark Cole. Andrews, who was two years into retirement after spending 16 years running ATC, agreed to return to the top job.

With Cole out of the picture, Goldstein, who was expected to leave the company last December, agreed to see the 2013-14 season through. He is still working with ATC until the board finds his replacement, Andrews said Wednesday.

ATC kicks off its 2014-15 season with Christopher Durang's Tony-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” on Sept. 13.

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