Trying to balance a nonprofit arts budget in a down economy is like rowing upstream, so the Orange County Performing Arts Center is trying to recruit many more paddlers -- that is, donors willing to kick in whatever they can.
The usual suspects for giving, the center's own board members, say they'll ante up a dollar for each buck that others contribute between now and June 30, the end of the Costa Mesa center's fiscal year. The goal is to raise $2 million, including the board members' matching amounts, while also using the "challenge" to attract first-time donors, no matter how modest the amount.
"More than ever, every gift matters," Chairman Thomas V. McKernan said in a statement. A successful campaign, he added, "will go a very long way towards maintaining our artistic programs" and educational offerings.
The center also has moved to cut expenses, with layoffs earlier this year of seven full-time and three part-time workers out of a full-time staff of about 100; more recently, officials said, they instituted a 14% across-the-board reduction in salaries and benefits, with senior staffers taking a 16% cut.
Despite the economic woes, the center has had no programming cuts, spokesman Todd Bentjen said.