In order to balance the 2024 budget, Taproot must raise $1.95 million in grants, corporate sponsorships, and donations. This is an approximately $750,000 increase over previous years.

 

History | Impact | What’s next? | How you can help

History

Theatres across the country are struggling right now, and Taproot is no different. We’re working hard to regain our 2019 income and attendance numbers. And we’re getting there. However, the 2024 cost of doing business continues to outpace Taproot’s ability to keep up.

Simply put, it costs more than ever to fulfill our mission and produce all the programming Taproot’s community has come to value.

Let’s start with one example: payroll. Due to minimum and union wage increases and our understudy program (that has increased all cast sizes but kept our shows open for the last two seasons), Taproot’s annual payroll costs in 2024 will be over $750,000 more than they were in 2019. $750,000 more! And payroll is just one example.

So, even while Taproot audience numbers are rebounding, financially, we’re still falling behind.

In November it became clear that Taproot was unlikely to meet its financial goals for the end of the 2023 fiscal year. With that in mind we reached out to 100 of Taproot’s largest donors, the donors who we believed had the most capacity to help and explained the need.

The response was overwhelmingly positive. People got back to us almost immediately. With notes like:

“A wonderful letter. Thanks for bearing your heart. We’ll be sending in something before the year end.”

“Last year we donated $1,000. We will up this to $5,000.”

“Thanks for entrusting us with this information. We just made a $2000 gift!”

“We’ve have been Taproot supporters since 1978. We want to see Taproot continue. We just put in 2K through our bank.”

And although money came in, we did not meet the original $350,000 goal. So, we then reached out to 200 more donors and told them about the need to raise $350,000 by the end of March. Again, the response was heart-stoppingly positive and generous. And again, the goal wasn’t met.

But because we have now raised over $240,000 towards that original $350,000 goal, we know that people care and are invested and want to keep fighting. So, based on those conversations and genuine relationships within this community, we are sharing Taproot’s financial struggle with all of you.

You may not know that every year Taproot raises around $1.2 million dollars in contributed income from grants, foundations, corporate sponsors, and YOU. We have raised over $660,000 so far this year.

But we want to tell you the whole story, because we believe in transparency.

Unable to meet our emergency fundraising goals, we have cut our expenses wherever possible. One of the hardest decisions was replacing our existing fall play, the large-cast A Raisin in the Sun, with the smaller-cast My Lord, What a Night. That is only one of several cuts.

In July 2023, most staff hours were reduced by half through December 2023. In April 2024, full-time hours were cut to 32 for the foreseeable future to help balance the budget. Several vacant positions will remain unfilled.

Impact

Even so, after all these cuts and changes,
and even though Taproot has received $240,000 in emergency funding so far,
and even though Taproot is on target to meet our prior $1.2 million goal in grants and donations,
even with all of that…

Taproot will still need an additional $750,000 in contributions to end the year on target. It simply costs that much more money to do this work.

What will that additional $750,000 do for Taproot Theatre?

It will allow Taproot to complete the 2024 Season with a balanced budget and no deficit.

And it will provide a healthy financial platform to launch the 2025 season.

So, before the end of December this year, Taproot needs to raise $1.95 million in total contributions. That’s 62.5% more than we usually budget for contributed income.

What’s next?

Step 1 was an emergency fundraising campaign in the first quarter of this year.

Step 2 is sharing this information with all of Taproot’s patrons and inviting you all to donate.

Step 3 includes expanding our orbit and going beyond Taproot’s circle of friends and patrons to find new donors, grants, and corporate sponsors.

Will you help? Will you spread the word? Do you know that person, that organization, that foundation that can help Taproot? Will you reach out on behalf of Taproot Theatre and make an introduction?

We’ve shared a lot here and you will hear a lot more about this need until it is met. There will be news stories, press releases, and more curtain speeches at the Theatre. And you might get worried. The biggest fear people seem to have is “will Taproot close?” Let’s dispel that fear right away. Taproot Theatre will NOT close. Together we will find a way to save this historic institution.

We don’t stay awake at night worrying if Taproot will close. No. Our fear is that it will shrink and shrink to stay open, but in shrinking, lose its impact and reason for existing. Taproot without its mission is just any other live theatre you can see anywhere in the world. Taproot on mission is unique, one of kind, life enhancing, and utterly transformational.

How you can help

Here’s the 2024 fundraising plan for YOUR theatre!

We have raised over $660,000 so far this year and are expecting another $540,000 in grants, sponsorships, and regular donations from patrons like you. But our goal this year is $750,000 more than usual – a $1.95 million goal. Here’s how we can reach that goal with YOUR help:

We need an additional $250,000 before end of June plus

We need an additional $250,000 before end of September plus

We need an additional $250,000 before end of December.

Give Today!

Questions? Email Development@taproottheatre.org

Want to mail us a check? Send it to:
Taproot Theatre
P.O. Box 30946
Seattle, WA 98113