SPAC expects to break even for 2011

SPAC officials expect the center to break even for 2011 and are looking to build toward 2012 by enco

SPAC officials expect the center to break even for 2011 and are looking to build toward 2012 by encouraging amphitheater attendance, expanding the use of social media and technology and pushing for contributions from large donors, those who give $10,000 or more.

At the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, members discussed finances, assessed operations from the past months and planned for the future. Finances remain a delicate balance, according to comments.

“For 2011 our season was very strong based on excellent programming and exceptional weather, and because of that … for the seventh consecutive season we will break even with our budget,” said SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia White.

As of Aug. 31, SPAC had earned $6.6 million and spent $6.3 million for the year. During September it saw substantial earnings, with a profit of about $220,000 from the Wine & Food and Fall Ferrari Festival. These gains, though, were more than offset by about a 10 percent decline in SPAC’s investments, to a total of around $4 million.

Richard Geary, chief financial officer, said his reading is that SPAC would just barely break even for 2011. “You’ve all heard the phrase, ‘by the hair of your chinny chin chin,’ ” he said, describing how narrowly they avoided a deficit.

SPAC Chairman Bill Dake described their finances as encouraging, especially in comparison to larger venues. “We’re very fortunate to be in the financial position we are in,” he said. “We are obviously in a 1 percent economy when a lot of 5 percent promises were made.” Dake noted that revenue from events promoter Live Nation was down this year and that income from the Wine & Food event was up.

Fundraising focused on getting members to upgrade their memberships; board member Linda Toohey said there was a small shift of patron-level members upgrading to the gold level. She said they hope to further capitalize on that next year in lieu of raising rates or primarily attracting new members.

Overall, SPAC was down $200,000 in revenue from memberships; going forward they plan to target donors of at least $10,000 to cover this gap.

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