An open letter from our Vice President

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Dear Reveller,

In January I wrote describing our need to build a sustainable future for Revels; now I'd like to tell you about our progress and to ask you to renew your pledge to us. We need your support now, in the forms of time, energy, and (of course) dollars.

Before I get to the details, though, I’d like to share a few words from Clara, one of our wonderful Young Performers, about the impact Revels has had on her life:

“My friends in the Revels community are the most loving and accepting friend group I have. The connections that I have made expand much further than just the Revels community. I have become more involved in the performing arts than I ever thought I would be. Revels has taught me to use my voice to its fullest potential and it is honestly such a blast. I am honored to be a part of the California Revels community and I can’t wait for more engaging opportunities to work with such wonderful people!”

With that bright reminder of the value Revels brings to so many people’s lives in mind, we’ve identified three major themes for our path to a sustainable future:

  1. Financial stability. Our board, staff, and artistic leaders have gone through every line of our budget and made proposals for how to be more cost effective in every area. We have set ourselves a realistic budget 20% less than last year. We’ve already implemented important changes–such as reducing our office expenses (please note our new address!), and leaning more on our staff and volunteers for key tasks rather than paying contractors–and more will take effect over the course of the year. We’re rebuilding our grant and sponsorship efforts to increase contributed income beyond our current donor base. It is our intention to be transparent with you; feel free to contact our Executive Director Lisa Lowe at lisa.lowe@californiarevels.org if you would like more information about our plans.

  2. Growing our audience. We firmly believe that there are 10,000 people (or more) in the Bay Area that need Revels in their lives. We must do everything we can to attract and keep those people. To that end, we have been offered a large donation specifically to cover the cost of hiring a professional marketing firm who will put together a comprehensive plan for growing our audience. We are engaging with them ASAP to produce this plan. Equally importantly, we are investing more in our presence in our community as described in the next section.

  3. Growing participation with our community. We consider it part of our mission to be vitally connected with the communities we live in. To that end, we have board members leading two new areas of engagement with our community: one focused on engagement with local schools, and one driving pub sings and regular participatory events. We also have our new Volunteer Coordinator to make sure that when you invest your time and energy with us you are both being used well and having a great experience. Our year-round events will continue to happen this year and we’re even trying some new ones. By growing the base of people who sing with us, work with us, and learn with us, we expand our circle and build back to a healthy state.

I haven’t yet talked about the Christmas Revels. Most importantly, through all this we were able to keep our full budget for paid artistic talent thanks to a very generous targeted donation. Even through tough times we’re aiming to bring you as fabulous a Christmas Revels as ever. I would love to be able to tell you dates and the show theme, but as of this writing we are still negotiating our venue and dates for this year. You can be sure we’ll send a big announcement once we get it locked down.

These are the broad strokes of our plan as they stand today. We will be refining and redoubling our efforts as we move through the rest of the year.

We also need you to redouble your efforts. I say it over and over, there are many ways to help:

  1. Donate by using the enclosed envelope, or go to www.californiarevels.org/donate to donate online. Become a monthly donor if you are able. Ask your employer if they match charitable contributions. If you would like to make a larger gift to Revels to cover a specific aspect you care deeply about we would love to have that conversation with you.

  2. Tell people about Revels. You play a huge role by sharing Revels with your friends, your coworkers, your places of worship, and your communities at every opportunity. If each of you got just two new people hooked on Revels, our sustainability problem would be solved.

  3. Volunteer with us. Send an email to volunteers@californiarevels.org and tell us how you’d like to help, or just let us know you’re interested and we’ll tell you what we need.

  4. Join the board. We’ve already had two new members take the plunge and they’re helping to drive our success. We still need more dedicated individuals to lead meaningful initiatives. You can email me directly at gabriel.hurley@californiarevels.org if you are interested.

We need a strong show of support now to ensure we can sign contracts in good faith with the multitude of artists, designers, technical staff, and others involved in creating the Christmas Revels for you.

It is my hope that this letter gives you confidence that we’re making meaningful progress, and that it encourages you to continue supporting us in all the ways you do.

On behalf of the board and staff of California Revels, THANK YOU!

Gabriel Hurley

President of the Board of Directors, California Revels