It is with a sense of deep gratitude that we can tell you that you – the community who attends and loves Northwest Folklife and the Northwest Folklife Festival – that when the final counting is done – and that takes a few more days – that we believe we will hit the $350,000 goal we set for donations at this year’s Festival.
We told you that the festival was in danger, that over the years, costs had been rising but revenue had not. We told you that we were worried that people had confused the complete accessibility of this festival – open to everyone in the community without a ticket price or financial barrier – that this had been confused with the idea that the festival was free. We shared, as openly and candidly with all of you what it really takes to put on this festival – including a cash budget of $1.3 million.
We believed that if we were open with you – that if you understood that this treasure you value so highly was our collective responsibility, that you would understand and would become part of the solution. And you did. We made the goal and now, the Board will meet at the end of June to initiate discussions on how Northwest Folklife should move forward in the future. A new process begins and we look forward to engaging with the community as an essential part of that process.
It is one of the great challenges of Northwest Folklife that so many of our donors are anonymous event attendees. They come to the festival, give their cash donation and we have no way of staying in touch unless they join our mailing list or give us their contact information. We are so glad that they are helping to defray the costs of the event itself but it is impossible to connect with them afterwards.
But we have this amazing group of supporters – our Friends of Folklife who give to us throughout the year because they passionately believe in our mission and vision and they understand that supporting Folklife all year long is necessary. We are so pleased to announce that our Spring Campaign Goal has also been met and we are so very grateful to all of those donors as well. You made it possible for us to get to the opening day of the Festival and the opening day of the Children’s Festival in October. Thank you.
There is the greater point to be made. For Folklife to continue for the next 46 years – it will take a continued concerted effort. It takes the deep conviction and support of the Friends of Folklife who give us the resources to work all year round. It absolutely takes the support of the community and audience that attends the events – that recognize that “Access for All” is not the same as “Free”. We made a good start on that this year and we must keep that message strong and always present.
It also takes the support of institutional funders in the public, corporate and foundation worlds who know that Northwest Folklife is not just a great “EVENT” that occurs once a year but that Northwest Folklife is a “CAUSE” committed to strengthening our communities through the sharing and experiencing of our arts, culture and heritage.
And yes, it will take the continued “daily donations” of the hundreds of thousands who attend the events who must come to understand that the continuation of Folklife will always depend upon their support as well.
So thank you to all who have made the future possible. We are so grateful and so excited.
President – NWFL Board
Mark W. Crawford
Interim Executive Director