Move With Us: A Campaign for Cincinnati Ballet’s New Home
Recently, Cincinnati Ballet released exciting news. As of June 2021, the organization had surpassed a bold $30.8 million campaign goal and opened the doors to a new, state-of-the-art dance center.
This project has been a dream in the making for decades—particularly as the hunger for dance in the Cincinnati community has continued to grow. Serious preparations began in the past few years, and in 2018, the Ballet invited Benefactor Group to test the appeal and fundraising potential for a new ballet center.
As Benefactor Group’s feasibility study uncovered, the Ballet’s community of donors were eager to help the organization realize its ambitious plans for a new home. Campaign planning quickly commenced. That fall, philanthropists Margaret and Michael Valentine contributed a lead gift of $10 million dollars—the largest one-time gift in Cincinnati Ballet history. The new Ballet Center was named in recognition of their generosity.
The level of experience and knowledge Benefactor Group provided Cincinnati Ballet in the fledgling stages of the organization’s capital campaign planning process was superior. Their ability to care for the organization’s key constituents as their own, demonstrated the kind of integrity we were looking for in an advisor and partner.
– Sara Pomeroy, Vice President of Philanthropy
The campaign’s momentum continued to build—even despite the challenges of 2020—and the Ballet exceeded its fundraising goal in under thirty months. The accelerated success of this campaign can be attributed to a number of factors, among them:
- Incredible volunteer leadership. Two of Cincinnati Ballet’s most ardent supporters and community leaders, Rhonda Sheakley and fellow Emeritus Trustee Larry Kellar, co-chaired the campaign, and were joined by board members Debbie Brant and Jennifer Damiano to create an unstoppable campaign committee. Their advocacy, influence, and passion were essential to rally the community to the cause.
- An urgent cause and a clear vision. The Ballet had seen exponential growth in recent years, especially following the adoption of a new strategic direction that invested in both artistic brilliance and financial sustainability. In fact, the community’s demand for the Ballet’s services had surpassed its physical ability to provide. The Ballet’s previous location was stretched to maximum capacity; more space was needed to achieve its vision for best-in-class artistry, education, and outreach. This vision—for a new home that would equip the Ballet to enhance its presence in the community and on the national and international stage—resonated with donors.
- A broad community of generous donors. From generous lead gifts to a popular broad-based campaign (in which donors could contribute to the “1801 Community Campaign” to see their names engraved on the steps of the new plaza)—nearly 300 donors were inspired to invest in the campaign.
The new Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance will feature nine studios in 57,000 square feet of space and boast an outdoor Community Performance Plaza, rooftop terrace, and stunning views of downtown Cincinnati. As President and CEO Scott Altman shared, “A project of this size and scope is a watershed moment for Cincinnati Ballet. We are excited to take the next step into our future.”
We congratulate Cincinnati Ballet on this success and are grateful to have played a role in realizing the vision!