Someone once told me, “If a person says that they don’t want to be thanked, then you should only thank them three times.” As a non-profit arts organization we can’t achieve any kind of real success without being grateful, and meaning it. We have to understand that not only does support from our donors and patrons help us to serve our mission, but it also allows us, the ones working here every day, to make it happen. It’s not just good fundraising strategy, gratitude is the difference between being a mediocre non-profit, and one that can set out to change the world.
So how do you thank someone appropriately that supports the arts? You can start by saying it, but I believe that it goes much further than that. People who give to the arts do so because they love it, and believe in what it can do for others. Access to special opportunities is a perfect way to show appreciation. I love being able to give backstage tours to patrons and setting up special meet and greets with our performers. It’s a fun way for all of us to celebrate art. We can show our gratitude by being present with our fellow donors and patrons during those times that they are here, and not just clocking in and out during work hours. Soliciting information and suggestions along with dollars is another way to show appreciation. Give me your opinion because I value it, and I value you. We’ve started to make changes to how we operate based on suggestions from the donor community, and they have some pretty good ideas.
And I’m also not just talking about donors. Here at LVPAC we can’t achieve our mission unless we love the cause that we support, and anyone else who supports that cause is alright by me. So how do we, all of us, get together and say “thank you” to an individual that has given a remarkable amount of time, energy and resources to preserving and advancing the arts here in the Tri-Valley? How about an award? And how about giving it to this person in front of our entire community? And how about recognizing this person as “The Arts Champion of the Year?” And how about taking every penny we make at this event, and invest it back into the arts, the very thing for which we are honoring this individual? Let’s make this BIG, and let’s do it every year. Now that’s how you thank someone.
So who is this person that has made such a significant impact? 2014 was a year of extreme challenge and triumph. There were a great number of people who saw that the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center was in trouble, and who stepped to the plate. I will be saying thank you to all of those people for a long time. As we pondered all of the possibilities, the first person chosen for this honor is Alameda County Supervisor, Hon. Scott Haggerty. The reasoning can be summed up in the following excerpt from our press release about the award.
Last year, Supervisor Haggerty played a key role in the process as LVPAC worked to resolve outstanding debt on the Bankhead Theater and make the transition to an independent theater model. “On behalf of Alameda County, Scott worked closely with LVPAC, the City of Livermore, and the Bank of New York/Mellon to develop a solution that would ensure the Bankhead Theater could remain a vibrant centerpiece for the arts in Livermore and the entire Tri-Valley,” said Denise Watkins, vice president of the LVPAC Board of Directors. “His clear understanding of the contribution the arts makes to a community, and his dedication in keeping the Bankhead a priority, was invaluable during the process and instrumental in helping us reach a successful outcome. As the premier arts organization in the Tri-Valley region, LVPAC is delighted to honor Supervisor Haggerty as our first “Champion of the Arts” in recognition of his support and commitment to strengthening the arts in our community,” Watkins added. – Roberta Emerson
Now, if you are a supporter of the arts who doesn’t want to be thanked, I only have three things to say. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Supervisor Haggerty honors Linda Ryan, Manager of the Bothwell Arts Center,
with the 2014 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award