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 Post subject: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
I'm starting this topic to discuss the financial news related to Boston Ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:33 pm 
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In the Boston Globe, Geoff Edgers reports on an endowment gift:

Quote:
Boston Ballet gets a $3m gift

Boston Ballet, still reeling as it tries to find a new home for “The Nutcracker,” had good news to announce yesterday: A recently deceased longtime supporter has left Boston Ballet more than $3 million, the largest individual gift in the company’s 40-year history.
More...

(The company's press release was posted yesterday in the "Boston Ballet Autumn 2003" thread.)


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:34 pm 
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This is truly wonderful news for Bostonn Ballet and it certainly couldn't have come at a better time. However, I was quite surprised to read that this single gift doubles their entire endowment. It seems a pitifully small endowment for a top company in a major city - particularly one that is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year!

Does anyone have any idea what kind of endowments other comparable companies have - say Houston or San Francisco?


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:35 pm 
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I noticed the same thing, Shanti. Keep in mind that Boston does not tour. If this discussion develops, should we move the recent posts into the Managing Dance forum.


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:36 pm 
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Probably a good idea, as the Boston Ballet discussion always seems to inspire a lot of varying and interesting tangents, often making it difficult to follow...


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 2:19 pm 
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SFB's endowment is quite a bit larger than that and I believe NYCB's is upwards of $300 mil. Boston's endowment seems very small, but they are also a relatively young company compared to SFB or NYCB.

I think ABT's endowment is also rather small, comparatively.


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 3:50 pm 
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As was discussed in a thread about Pacific Northwest ballet. I believe Executive Director David Brown said" as a rule of thumb a company's endowment should be 4 times the size of its' operating budget" probably pretty accurate. Many museums and symphony orchestras have these sorts of endowments but virtually no ballet companies have this. Most like Boston do not even have an endowment the size of their operating budgets.


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 5:44 pm 
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It's interesting to note, DT, that D. David Brown, who made this statement, was in fact the CFO (or equivalent) for Boston Ballet for many years during Bruce Mark's tenure. So it must be much easier to make this statement than it is to actually achieve it!


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:17 pm 
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Well, it's always good to have a goal to strive to... I personally believe an endowment is a must, not a luxury. A couple years ago, at a board meeting of a small arts company, the AD and a couple of my fellow directors balked when I strongly proposed that a healthy percentage of the revenue be put into an endowment fund. The complaint was that the AD couldn't achieve the company's needs for the season. My response was, "The board has to get more money or the company has to reset its sights." Now, the board is thankful we have an emergency resource to dip into.


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:10 am 
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Well, Azlan, I'm sure that long-time BB board members must now me asking themselves what they have been doing for the last 10-20 years. With only three million dollars in their endowment (now, thankfully doubled due to this windfall) and tough financial times, they could have used someone like you telling them this a long time ago. I understand now why the loss of the Wang center and the fear of a loss of revenue from 'The Nutcracker' is so dire for them.


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 6:29 am 
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Azlan brings up a good point. AS a board fellow board member he had a voice. Most board members will only listen to another board member not the professional staff, when it comes to issues like this. Unfortunately, very few board members have a clue what their duties are or should be (ie fundraising), and even fewer will actually perform those duties once they do know. Thus the lack of endowents. The best way to start is with a sizeable cash reserve which helps to even out cash flow throughout the season (and avoid costly late fee penalties etc.)but has to be replaced by the end of the fiscal year. Once a company can sustain this and carry on with their Artistic mission, then it is time to work on an endowment. Unfortunately, many Artistic directors insist on increasing the budget size each year, instead of practicing the fiscal restraint that would ensure their company's future. It then becomes an ego driven perpetual cycle till the company hits a recession or "other bump in the road" and can no longer sustain it's size, and then drastic measures are needed to balance the budget and so it goes...


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 8:45 am 
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and that, in a nutshell, seems to be where Boston Ballet is in 2003 ....


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 12:09 pm 
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Boston Ballet has the added problem of too many AD's in too little time. With such upheavals in leadership it is really not surprising they have fiscal troubles.


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 4:51 pm 
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Quote:
Unfortunately, very few board members have a clue what their duties are or should be (ie fundraising), and even fewer will actually perform those duties once they do know.
True... so, true...

However, keep in mind that many board members have day jobs and it's not easy for them to take on more responsibilities. I hate to say this but the reality is it's not a bad idea to have on your board a non-working spouse of an executive... but a bad idea to have both spouses on at the same time... :)

The artistic vision is usually what inspires a company, its staff and its board. Boston Ballet had gone through quite a few changes that I'm not sure they knew exactly what they were shooting for. If you recall, they even had a season programmed by the Conductor! He may have made some nice choices but you wouldn't expect that season to have inspired the board.


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 Post subject: Re: Boston Ballet Financial News
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 5:45 pm 
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I think that in the case of Bostob Ballet over the last few tears, they have had more pressing poblems to think about than the growing of the endowment.


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