Saving the world, still not free

Posted by Heidi on April 26, 2009

Many of you received a letter from BOM in the mail recently asking you to make a donation to support our work in under-served Chicago schools. Barrel of Monkeys is well positioned for the current economic climate because of the strong support of people just like you, and we hope you will consider donating now to insure this stability continues for some time to come.  If you’ve already sent in a donation, thank you very much! You make our hearts happy.

If you didn’t get a chance to send in your check yet, need more convincing, or aren’t yet on our mailing list, we hope you’ll consider it. If you’re only familiar with our public shows (which are mostly self-supporting), there’s a ton more information about our program here , including some of the results

Here is a brief heartwarming example of the success of our program.  A few weeks ago was the first day of the Chalmers residency. As the teaching artists walked to the classroom, several eighth graders streamed out of their classroom to greet Luke and the other teaching artists. One of them, Shakyra, is the author of “Kung Fu Guys”, which ran in TWG for over a year. Shakyra told Luke that she is getting ready for high school and that thanks to BOM’s influence when she was in fourth grade, she still writes stories, and “poetry now too”.

Like all the schools we serve, Chalmers can’t afford the full cost of our program, so we have to look elsewhere to make up the difference between what the schools can afford and what it actually costs to run a high-quality program year after year.  We’re lucky to have some great foundations supporting us; their grants make up about 45% of our annual revenue. Another 25% of it comes from the support of individuals just like you. Yes, you.

We get individual support through donations at the end of “That’s Weird, Grandma”, from our annual Fancy Schmancy Benefit (October 16th, 2009), Monkey-o-kee…and every spring from an annual appeal to you, our family, friends, and fans.

No donation is too small (or too big!), and we could really use the support. A delightful anonymous foundation is matching contributions that meet or exceed last year’s gifts from individuals, and we’d really like to max out the full value of their pledge. 

If you prefer to make an in-kind donation, I’ve included some options after the jump, as well as some examples of what your donations can help pay for. 

Thanks for being a monkey fan!

While we don’t have an extensive wish list at the moment, here are some “things” that we could use in addition to general operating support:
• a new keyboard (the kind that looks like a piano, not the kind that goes with a computer)
• a speaker phone for the conference room
• shelves and bins for our prop storage, bookshelves for the office, a small round conference table for meetings, other basic high-quality office furniture (to upgrade the mediocre-quality office furniture we have now)
• office supplies in general (staplers, pens, copy paper, index cards, post-its, 3-ring binders, big paper, notebooks, calculators…)
• mini dv tapes and DVDs (used to archive our school performances)
• a new to gently-used basic laptop
• Any amazing church hats, ridiculous wigs, or appropriate costume pieces.

Some examples of what your donation pays for:
$1,800 covers the cost of one in-school performance
$1,250 covers one day of educational programming in one school
$500 helps sponsor “Celebration of Authors 2009”
$500 covers one performance of “That’s Weird, Grandma”
$400 pays the annual maintenance plan for our database software
$350 covers copying programs for “Celebration of Authors”
$100 pays for all the kids’ notebooks for the entire year
$50 covers props and supplies for one school show
$10 covers our long-distance phone bill for the month
We appreciate support at any level.

Finally, we could use a couple volunteers with very specific skills. For example, we could use a couple more folks to help with our event planning committee, and someone with basic computer skills and a lot of patience to transfer video from DV to computer to DVD or do some basic data entry to add stories to our online database. If any of this sounds appealing, please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)directly.

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