Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

April 15, 2011

KRT’s seat fund situation could damage future

GLASGOW — It was a sad situation last week to learn that the Kentucky Repertory Theatre had possibly been forced to use the funds raised to install new seats to keep the doors open.

I’m afraid future fundraising will be difficult for the theater, not because of how the funds were used, but instead because of how their use was announced. KRT Director Kit Sanderson has made an allegation the funds were spent inappropriately, but at this point there has been no evidence presented to show the KRT board did not know exactly what was happening.

Charitable organizations raise money with the understanding of where it will be spent and many donors give specifically for that purpose. Former Artistic Director Robert Brock and the board members for KRT made the decision to use the funds, along with money from the theatre’s endowment, to help the theater remain in operation when funding sources dwindled over the past few years.

The decision to use the money to keep the theater from closing was the right call, the problem came from how KRT and its board handled the situation.

There were a significant number of people who donated to KRT solely for the seat effort and they should not have found out their money had been used for an alternate purpose months after the action had been taken. In addition, Brock has acknowledged that neither he nor the theater’s board was forthcoming about how bad the economic situation was for Kentucky Rep. There. The Daily Times had a story last year that stated the theater had less money, but publically there have been no comments I have found where they discussed the situation being bad enough to use the seat funds to prevent closure.

KRT owed it to its donors and patrons to be upfront about its situation. Many people in Barren County and the surrounding area have given contributions to the theater because they believe this area needs something like KRT. This is public relations 101 and the people involved should have known better. The last few years charitable organizations all over the area have talked about less funding and more people who need help. KRT’s donors would have understood, but not informing people causes distrust. The belated apology may not be enough.

I am concerned that people upset about not hearing ahead of time about the change in the seat funding may decide to take their donations elsewhere.

I hope I am being overly concerned about the hit the recent revelation will have on the theater and that people will continue to support it. I believe the theater is a worthwhile endeavor and something that is necessary to promote culture within this area.

Maybe I’ll be wrong, but I think the recent disclosure and how it was handled is only going to exasperate Kentucky Rep’s problems. My wish is they will be able to weather the storm.

Burton Speakman is the news editor for the Glasgow Daily Times. He can be reached by e-mail at bspeakman@glasgowdailytimes.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion