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September 15 Meeting

YAI needs your input and your support at a community meeting Sept. 15, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at First Lutheran Church. As we wrap up our third season since a major leadership change, the YAI board has assessed the lessons learned and identified several options for the coming season. In a nutshell:

  • The past three years have included lots of successes: Nine shows have engaged around 300 young artists, roughly 30 young artistic staff, and thousands of audience members in both creating and experiencing excellent theater. In addition, our board has done significant organizational development work; and we continue to develop additional sources of community support, as well as opportunities for YAI’s alumni to give back to the community.
  • Many challenges have been met: With grant funding for only five of these nine shows, the board has worked hard to manage expenses, raise funds, and expand YAI’s reach to new audiences. All grants have come from a single source.
  • Analysis of the financing for these past three seasons’ shows that the most successful strategy for making ends meet has been tightly managing budgeted expenses. Relying so heavily on the ability of YAI’s volunteers to fill in as unpaid staff is not sustainable.
  • Further analysis shows that most donations continue to come from YAI’s base of committed supporters.
  • For 2015 we are developing a realistic plan that continues to provide excellent programming while building the infrastructure of the organization needed to support the work without undue sacrifices on the part of YAI’s leadership and volunteers. As we plan the next season, YAI’s board is taking steps to address the sustainability challenge, including:
    • Working with volunteers to pursue 501(c)(3) status and identify new grant opportunities;
    • Applying for a grant that would support the first year of a part-time staff position. If awarded, this grant would help build the infrastructure needed to sustain the position over time.
  • This is where we need your input and support! Please lend your ears, voices, and ideas to the conversation at our September 15 community meeting.  Learn about options and costs for the 2015 season, provide input to the board on how to proceed, and find out how you can lend a hand. Options include presenting a more modest season in 2015 with existing resources OR presenting a more ambitious season with enhanced resources (meaning $10,000 – $13,000 would need to be raised by the end of 2014).

Kids are welcome to participate in the meeting, if interested.

If you are not able to attend but would like to help, please contact YAI Board Chair Barb Deming to share your thoughts/offer support.

Creatively yours,


Benjamin Lacina*  |  612-508-6935 Direct

Artistic Director  |  Young Artists Initiative

463 Maria Avenue  |  Saint Paul, MN 55106-4428  |  www.youngartistsmn.org

Box Office & Information Line: 651-222-KIDS

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation!

*Proud recipient of the 2009 Ordway Education Award for Community Commitment