Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Richmond Symphony runs deficit

The Richmond Symphony projects a deficit of $146,706 on an operating budget of $4.75 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, the orchestra’s board was told at its annual meeting. A shortfall of about $200,000 in expected revenues, partially offset by savings of about $34,000 in projected expenses, was cited in the orchestra’s end-of-the-year financial roundup.

The symphony joins a long list of orchestras reporting recession-driven deficits this year. Most are running deficits equal to 5 to 10 percent of their operating budgets, said David Fisk, the symphony’s executive director. Richmond’s shortfall is about 5 percent.

Revenues dropped 5 percent from 2007-08, when the symphony reported a $21,050 surplus. The orchestra reported declines in both earned and contributed income in 2008-09.

"Through careful and constant monitoring of our financial progress, we have weathered this year of economic downturn with appropriate measures," Fisk said in a prepared statement. He added that despite the deficit, the orchestra is in "a strong position" for its return this fall to the Carpenter Theatre in the downtown Richmond CenterStage complex following five seasons of performing in temporary venues.

The symphony also announced a gift of $500,000 from the Pauley Family Foundation, the fourth gift at that level to its endowment fund in the past three years. The endowment currently is valued at about $7.5 million, down from a value of $9.3 million at this time last year. The orchestra is preparing to launch the public phase of fund-raising to enlarge the endowment, whose returns currently provide about 16 percent of the orchestra’s total revenue.

Other shares of contributions, which account for three-quarters of the symphony’s income, are 31 percent from individuals, 7 percent from businesses, 12 percent from corporate concert and series sponsorships, and 12 percent from governments and public agencies, with the balance coming primarily from grants by foundations.

Ticket sales for the 2008-09 season were $315,581 from subscriptions, $218,044 from single-ticket purchases and $94,000 from gala and special events.

Joe Murillo, client services vice president and associate general counsel of Altria Group, Inc. (sponsor of the symphony's Masterworks series) was elected as the new president of the symphony board. He succeeds Marcia Thalhimer, completing her second term as president in the past 10 years.