Letter from the Director
This year especially, we need your help to continue. PLEASE READ ON....
Tuesday November 28, 2017
Each year nearing year’s end, we come to you asking for a donation. Why is this year different from every other year? Beyond the common state of things, The Poetry Center in 2017 lost its primary source of program funding. For some twenty years we’ve received sustaining program support from the City of San Francisco’s Grants for the Arts. Nearly every dollar we received from the City went directly to guest artists: poets, scholars, musicians. Due to a cut by the City to Grants for the Arts’ budget —linked, until last year’s failed ballot initiative, to the San Francisco Hotel Tax —The Poetry Center, as “an entity of the State,” has been deemed ineligible. After being notified in June, we went through an appeals process, though were not able to overturn this decision. Our allotment for 2017–18 dropped by 25%; beginning Fall 2018, we’ll receive nothing. Grants for the Arts funding for The Poetry Center was remarkably reliable, substantial, and each year we put that money directly into the hands of our artists. We’re looking now at a new and unforeseen prospect.
It’s very clear, under this new dispensation, that we won’t be hosting 60 writers per year, as we have done for most of the past nearly two decades. Indeed, things have got to change, though at the same time we’re not going away. The Poetry Center continues to enjoy substantial material and personnel support from San Francisco State University. A substantial gift from an unforeseen source is not impossible.
So, the game plan is: 1) We’re applying for special project support from private foundations, aware that most, according to their by-laws, cannot provide ongoing program support. 2) We’ve applied for Federal (National Endowment for the Arts) and are researching State (California Arts Council) resources. 3) We’re talking, concertedly, to friends and workers in the fundraising and philanthropic world, learning how other local arts organizations financially support the crucial work they do, and of potential directions for The Poetry Center. 4) We’re also meeting with folks at our peer institutions, re occasions to share programming (not at all new to us) and program costs. 5) We’re undertaking personal requests to certain individuals and family trusts to underwrite annual programs. 6) And we’re appealing, as ever, to our donors, to “members” of The Poetry Center—to you.
Our donations from individuals are truly significant. In recent years we’ve received circa $5,000 per year in smaller gifts from Poetry Center members. Such show of support from our wider audience and member-base is critical to funders recognizing that we do, indeed, serve an engaged public that cares about what The Poetry Center can do. A standard membership is $50 (low income, $30). If you are capable—especially if your employer offers matching donations—every $500 allows us to host a local writer; anywhere from $750 to $1,500 lets us invite someone from outside the area. If you are able to underwrite an annual program, from $1,000–$2,500, please write to me to discuss the details. Contributions above the $50 membership are tax-deductible within allowable limits of the law. A letter of receipt will be mailed for your tax records. For secure online credit card donations, go here. Or, kindly send a check via US Mail to:
The Poetry Center/SFSU
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco CA 94132
Every donation is good. Will you please help us out?
Ways to Give
There are multiple options for making online donations. Scroll down to "About Your Gift" and select "I Would Like to Support" The Poetry Center.
Give by mail (check)
Mail your gift to:
The Poetry Center/SFSU
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
You may wish to consider one or more of the following enhanced giving strategies:
Many companies match employee gifts up to a certain limit per year. Ask your human resources department whether your company is among those participating in a gift-matching program, or consult SF State’s matching gifts database.
Recurring credit-card gifts can enable you to make a more significant gift than you might otherwise be able to afford at one time. You can elect to make a recurring gift on the College of Liberal & Creative Arts Donation Form. Please explore the options there for monthly or quarterly donations of any amount.
For information on how to donate securities or other types of assets, please contact University Development.
Through planned giving, you can make the most of your estate in ways that will leave a generous and significant legacy for future generations of chamber musicians and lovers of the art of chamber music. For further information please contact University Development, or visit the Planned Giving website.
Your gift is tax deductible to the full extent allowed under IRS regulations. For further information please contact University Development.