Community raises $45k for YTN
By ELIZABETH CELMS
Mercer Island Reporter Contributor
March 24, 2009 · Updated 2:38 PM
Nearly a month after launching the “Save YTN” campaign, Youth Theatre Northwest has earned almost $45,000 in donations. In February, the theater — faced with dwindling funds and barely able to make payroll — publicly reached out for financial support. A community meeting was held and YTN executive director Manuel Cawaling set a goal of raising $100,000 within the month. Last week, Cawaling said the $45,000 raised guarantees that the theater will survive its spring quarter.
“I’m feeling a lot better now. We’re not out of woods yet, but we’re in a better part of the forest for sure. Now I can make payroll,” Cawaling said, adding that he is still set on a goal of $100,000. “We’re still in the beginning stages of our campaign, and we’re almost halfway there.”
The majority of donations, Cawaling said, come from YTN alumni and Island parents. Community groups have also contributed. On the municipal level, the City Council and Arts Council are discussing the possibility of securing a grant for YTN.
“There’s nothing firm yet, but there is definitely a conversation,” Cawaling said.
A small, nonprofit organization, YTN has been hit especially hard by the recession. Last year, the theater saw a 50 percent drop in individual donations, a $23,000 decline in tuition revenues and a $6,000 drop in ticket sales.
To donate, purchase YTN tickets or enroll in classes, visit: www.youththeatre.org.