News from the Board
River Tree Arts
March 7, 2016
We are writing today to ask for your help. You may be wondering why River Tree Arts needs you. Here’s our answer:
River Tree Arts has had the luxury of an endowment and a building that were generously donated by Andrea Irvine in 2005. Over the past decade, however, the organization has outspent its means by providing programming and arts to the community with a significant amount of overhead. In 2013, a loan was taken on the property at 35 Western Avenue to continue to fund River Tree’s annual operations. The note is due on May 1.
Today, we are faced with the critical need of raising $500,000 to fulfill our commitment to our lender and we are asking for your help. Before you consider helping, it is important to understand what steps we have taken to ensure that River Tree Arts never faces this situation again.
Over the past two years, we have been working to transform River Tree Arts in order to remain an essential part of our community. River Tree has been revitalized with seven new board members and community partners who are committed to the organization’s long term success. We have steadily increased program enrollment and our membership base while decreasing administrative expenses reducing the annual operating loss from more than $150,000 to less than $50,000. The current board of directors is proud to be creating a sustainable organization, one that is projected to operate at breakeven in our next fiscal year which begins May 1. In parallel with our efforts to streamline operations, we have also engaged the community to understand what is important to our patrons and supporters.
During our community conversations it became clear that River Tree Arts is part of the fabric of our community. In fact, River Tree exists to make this a vibrant, connected community where people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds experience the magical benefits of the arts. River Tree Arts makes a tremendous impact in our community and we need your help today to keep that impact alive. Rest assured, we fully intend to keep our doors open after May 1 and are actively working with local lenders to secure short-term financing while we raise the funds to keep us in our home long term. Strong early results from this capital campaign are critical to demonstrate our ability to make progress toward our goal.
Here’s how you can help. We have developed a funding plan to serve as a roadmap to get River Tree Arts to its goal. In order to meet our goal, we need to secure substantial broad based support including 100 donors to pledge $1,000 and 50 donors to pledge $5,000 over a five year period. We are also looking for a handful of supporters to provide cornerstone gifts to the campaign. Please consider a gift today. Your support, no matter the size, will help keep this vital resource in our community. Thank you.
February 26, 2016
New board member, Cindy Kennie, and River Tree Art advisors, Bradbury Chadbourne and Laura White! River Tree Arts is at a crucial turning point and we consider ourselves very fortunate to gain the invested interest of these individuals. Welcome to the RTA team!
October 30, 2015
RTA Facing Changes
On behalf of the Board of Directors at River Tree Arts (RTA) I am reaching out to our students and members to let you know that this week we are issuing a news release regarding the future of RTA. You are an integral part of our organization and we feel it is very important to pass along this information to you directly. As we focus on our future we are still fully committed to the success of our on-going and upcoming programs and events. One of our highest priorities is a smooth transition for our students and faculty.
RTA is at a crossroads. The news release is our appeal to the community to get involved and help save this valuable asset for the families, residents, businesses, and visitors of our community. We are anxious to write a new chapter and return to our roots as a community arts organization – run by the community and for the community.
We have had the luxury for quite some time of an endowment and a building that were generously donated to RTA by Andrea Irvine. Over the past decade however, we have overspent our means providing programming and arts to the community with a significant amount of overhead. In 2013, a loan was taken on the property at 35 Western to continue to fund RTA operations. That note is soon due and we must take steps to be able to meet the commitments to repay it and find a new location that better fits within our means. We have begun to search for a new home and are planning to relocate in 2016.
The current board of RTA is committed to being fiscally responsible and establishing an operating model that relies less on monetary donations. Over the past year we have significantly reduced our annual deficit by decreasing the amount of paid administrative support and transitioning to a more active board and volunteer model. We are seeking to actively engage the community for support in the form of new ideas and fresh energy. In order to thrive we need more board members and more volunteers. We see this change as the key to our survival. Board members will be available through a series of open meetings with the community. We encourage interested community members to attend. The first open meeting with be on Saturday, October 24 at noon.
Ultimately the next six months will determine if RTA will emerge as a revamped organization in a new home that is sustainable for years to come or if we will need to close our doors in 2016. Of course, we believe River Tree is worth saving and look forward to the next chapter.
Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns and, as always, thank you for your continued support.
President, RTA Board of Directors
October 22, 2015
River Tree is excited to announce that our Board of Directors is growing!
Over the past five months we have welcomed six new board members. They come from a variety of backgrounds and we are confident they will serve the organization well going forward. Please read about them below.
Ann Corbey, a part time Kennebunkport resident with a strong background in education and administration. Ann is a fiber artist and has taken occasional classes at River Tree. Her grandchildren spend a lot of time at River Tree in the summer.
Mark DiGiovanni, a Kennebunk resident who owns a consulting company which helps small businesses grow. His children are River Tree students.
Ali Eagleson, a former executive at TD Bank with a masters in business administration. Her son is a music student at River Tree. Her family resides in Kennebunk.
Cynthia Mowles, a retired Cape Elizabeth school superintendent and a Saco resident. Cynthia is a frequent student at River Tree.
Erin Rice, a non profit executive who grew up in Goodwins Mills. Her family currently lives in Kennebunk and her daughter is a River Tree student.
Kelly Roche, a former teacher in the RSU 21 district Kelly grew up in Wells and is currently a successful salesperson. She is a Kennebunkport resident and her children are River Tree students.