8 Feb 2017
The power of one – the power to transform
What I have learned in my six month tenure as Executive Director is that it only takes one person to inspire us all. Any gift of any size can be truly transformational. One Angel Night gift of $30, one brand new Corps de Ballet donor, and one extraordinary woman who single-handedly changed the organization with her everlasting legacy. Just one – that powerful one.
Take our $30 Angel Night donor. She funded a ticket for a child to attend a Ballet Arizona performance. This season, one of those tickets was given to a young girl who is slowly losing her vision to an incurable genetic disease. The Nutcracker was on her “sight” seeing bucket list – just one of the experiences she wanted to witness before her eyes robbed her of the opportunity. The night she attended the performance, the young girl was filled with joy and wonder as she intently watched the magical dancers, costumes and sets appear before her. That evening provided a lifelong treasure that not only imparted a memory to be cherished, but also bestowed her with perspective to interpret what she encounters later in life when her vision has vanished. A generous gift from just one thoughtful donor. Just one.
With ticket sales covering only about half the cost of presenting a production and operating the organization, financial gifts are crucial – to pay dancers and staff, keep the lights on, and reach out to our community. Gifts of time and expertise are also invaluable to Ballet Arizona – especially as we strive to balance artistic excellence and fiscal responsibility.
Last month, I was incredibly moved by a patron who reached out offering his help to restore live music to future performances of The Nutcracker. While he was very disappointed that live music could not be included in this year’s production – and didn’t hold back in telling us so – he understood that the decision was a heartbreaking financial reality. In addition to sending a substantial online donation, he offered his time and expertise to help secure additional funding. That this patron, like so many others, would share his personal and professional time was incredibly uplifting to us all, and is critically important to our fundraising efforts. We now have just one new ambassador advocating for the ballet. Just one.
These are the types of gifts that are within reach for most of us, and you should never underestimate how important your donation – and you – are to Ballet Arizona. We thank you for your gifts – large and small – that support the organization in ways larger than you imagine.
There are, however, once-in-a-lifetime gifts that leave us humbled and in awe, without words to express our gratitude. Ballet Arizona has just received such a gift – the legacy of Hazel A. S. Hare, a longtime supporter and friend who passed away in early 2016. Thanks to Ms. Hare, Ballet Arizona now has an endowment of more than $3.5 million that will provide funding year after year to help sustain the organization into the future. We were honored to know her, and are humbled to be among the beneficiaries of her estate. We will never forget her. She was a force – tenacious, loving, generous, and our angel. Hazel was just one who transformed the ballet overnight. Just one.
It is so deeply moving to witness the transformational power of your gifts. On behalf of everyone who benefits from your generosity, please accept our thanks. You are not only supporting great art and artists, but helping to changes lives in our community. From $30 to $3,500,000 each one of you make the biggest difference to all of us.
About Samantha Turner: Samantha Turner is a leader in both the non-profit and corporate sectors, with expertise in marketing and business management. Before Samantha was appointed executive director, she served three years as Ballet Arizona’s director of marketing, achieving record sales revenues twice during that tenure.
Prior to joining Ballet Arizona, Turner held leadership roles in both non-profit and Fortune 500 companies. Most recently she served as head of business operations and finance for CAP21, a New York-based non-profit performing arts organization. Turner’s for-profit career includes high-level marketing and business management roles at Aflac, Assurant and other organizations of national and regional scope. In addition to her professional experience, Samantha holds MBAs in marketing and international business/ecommerce, and an undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism.