A $500,000 gift from the Joyce and Jim Teel Family Foundation will enable the combined Sacramento Opera and Philharmonic orchestra to soldier on amid challenging times for arts entities, according to the head of the recently merged organizations.
Rob Tannenbaum, general director of the Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance, said he and others with the organization were dumbfounded when two checks arrived in Fridays mail ‑ $250,000 for the Sacramento Opera and $250,000 for the Sacramento Philharmonic.
The two entities merged last year under the performing arts alliance, which now oversees both of them.
On Monday, Tannenbaum said the timing of the gifts from the foundation tied to the founding family of West Sacramento-based Raleys was dramatically perfect.
Weve had financial problems, like other arts organizations these days, and theyre pretty intense, Tannenbaum said. We were at the end of our wits. ... And now, in one fell swoop, our short-term problems are gone.
Tannenbaum stressed that the alliance will continue to take a hard look at our business model. There are clear areas where we need to make changes. Those are the financial realities...Were so grateful for the (gift) and the breathing room it gives us to adjust our business model.
The alliance also has been working with the city of Sacramento to seek financial investment in its arts organizations.
Prior to Fridays windfall, the alliance in November benefited from a $75,000 matching grant from the Thomas P. Raley Foundation. The grant matched funds raised by the organization in the Sacramento region.
A media release notes: Support from the Thomas P. Raley Foundation received in the spring of 2013 was integral to the merger of the two parent performing arts organizations and, as such, the foundation serves as the 2013-14 Sacramento Opera and Philharmonic season sponsor.
Members of the Teel family could not be reached for comment Monday. But Tannenbaum said he contacted Joyce Raley Teel the daughter of Raleys founder Thomas P. Raley to personally thank her for last weeks gifts. He said Teel spoke at length about her mother, E. Claire Raley, who stressed the importance of the arts and exposed her daughter to a wide range of arts programs in the community. The gifts, he said, were made in memory of E. Claire Raley.
Jim and Joyce Raley Teel serve as co-chairs of the Raleys board of directors. Michael Teel, grandson of the Raley's founder, leads the chain as president and CEO. The family foundation was also the largest private donor to the expansion of the Crocker Art Museum, giving $14 million.
The latest gift follows last months Sacramento City Council vote to sublease the former Fremont School for Adults in midtown to a collective that includes the Sacramento Ballet, the opera and the Philharmonic. Other, smaller arts groups are also expected to be part of the project, dubbed the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts.
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