Non-profits looking for new ways to make money are finding unusual possibilities under their own roofs.
Ballet Chicago rents its rehearsal studios, complete with
floor-to-ceiling mirrors and barres, for weddings and other events.
Rentals contribute about $200,000 a year to the ballet's $14-million
annual budget, says Christopher Clinton Conway, executive director.
seven studios have wooden floors “with a little bit of spring to them,
which is fun,” Mr. Conway says; mirrors can be left exposed or covered
with drapes. The studios rent for $2,000 for weddings and other private
affairs; non-profits are charged a “ballpark” $1,000.
Opera of Chicago rents its 8,400-square-foot stage for $11,500 a day.
Corporations and high-profile non-profits “really see it as a tie-in to
the arts,” says Rich Regan, director of facilities.
Cancer Society Illinois Division Inc. plans to rent the stage for its
April 30 American Cancer Society Discover Ball, which draws 1,000
guests and nets more than $2 million. “Folks do expect a lot from
high-profile events,” says Lee Kite, director of distinguished events.
“We need to deliver amongst the competition.” The organization pays
extra to expand the stage floor.
Maryville Academy, a Des
Plaines social-services agency, tried to rent banquet and reception
rooms at its Stevens Center, adjacent to All Saints Cemetery, for
funeral luncheons. The organization marketed the space to funeral homes
but got no takers, says Willie Simmons, director of operational
services. Maryville, which regularly rents out its gym, is now looking
at leasing the space “if the right tenant comes along,” Mr. Simmons
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