The performing arts as a business is being challenged like few others by the COVID-19 pandemic. The mandatory shut-down of live, in-person performances since March 2020 has been particularly hard on the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which relies heavily on ticket sales from its cultural campus. Earned income from the box office for ballet, orchestra, plays and other productions represent 93% of its budget (a percentage unheard of amongst other art organizations) and now, the Kimmel Center is calling for additional fundraising to fill the gap.
Even before the pandemic, President & CEO Anne Ewers had set out to reduce the Kimmel Center’s dependence on earned revenue through corporate sponsorships. These sponsorships provide corporations with visibility and a unique way to cultivate important relationships with access to nationally acclaimed shows and performances, such as “Hamilton,” which played at the Kimmel Center from mid-August through late November 2019 and is scheduled to return this fall, was particularly attractive to corporate sponsors. Finding those sponsors is the mission now.
In Spring 2020, Ewers was introduced to the Satell Institute by Advisory Board Member Philip Jaurigue, also a Kimmel Center board member and the Founder and Chairman of Sabre Systems, a Warrington, PA, software and systems engineering company. After attending Satell Institute conferences, including one held at the Kimmel Center, she was amazed at the number of regional leaders she was able to meet and reconnect with. The Satell Institute gave Ewers a chance to meet more potential supporters.
“I found the keynote speakers and the other folks who spoke really have a huge amount of information that was important to know. I loved how creative everyone was and the opportunities for round tables and idea exchange afterwards,” which, she said, gave the attendees a chance to talk candidly and transparently with their colleagues.
Ewers’ experience at the meetings convinced her that the Kimmel Center should become a Nonprofit Affiliate member of the Satell Institute. To do that, however, they would need to find a partner company that would join as a Satell Institute member and make a commitment to provide at least $25,000 in annual support for four years. The timing couldn’t be better for the Kimmel Center, who’s Cultural Campus includes the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Academy of Music and the Merriam Theater, as it has had to cut spending and staff due to the pandemic.
“I think [the Satell Institute] is a brilliant concept that helps corporations to make a commitment to understanding the importance of nonprofits and building relationships with them,” she said. “I was really blown away by Ed [Satell], his vision and how he was accomplishing it.”
The Kimmel Center head approached her Board Chairman Michael Zisman, co-CEO of Golf Genius Software, a Wayne, PA-based developer of tournament management technology. Zisman committed the funds that enabled the Kimmel Center and Golf Genius to become SI Members.
Ewers describes becoming an Affiliate Nonprofit of the Satell Institute, a Think and Do Tank for Corporate Social Responsibility, as a bright spot in an otherwise challenging year. The SI affiliation has led to a funding commitment and Ewers has benefited from sharing knowledge with other nonprofit leaders and making corporate leaders aware of the benefits they can get from being a Kimmel Center sponsor when performances resume.
“I think that it is important for folks to realize that performing arts will be the last things that gets to come back after COVID,” Ewers said. “I’m most hopeful that people will remember the thrill of live performance and that there is nothing that can replace live performance.”
The Satell Institute Continues to
Welcome New Members
UNILOG CONTENT SOLUTIONS AND THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE
We are pleased to have membership at the Satell Institute continue to grow as great companies and private businesses and foundations choose to support CSR initiatives. This week we welcome new member, Suchit Bachalli, CEO of Unilog Content Solutions. Unilog is a global technology company that delivers powerful, affordable eCommerce solutions for the B2B marketplace, helping customers to increase online sales, reduce costs to serve, and enhance their digital channel.
Unilog chose to support The Franklin Institute through the Satell Institute. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. As Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is a prominent cultural resource dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on, creative and engaging STEM education resources for everyone, regardless of means. The Franklin Institute has greatly expanded its virtual learning opportunities including launching an expansive digital museum platform – Franklin@Home – designed to keep audiences connected, in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.