Becoming a Nonprofit
Municipal Ballet Co. is not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We definitely don't make a profit, however, and almost all dance companies are federally recognized tax-exempt organizations, so why aren't we? For the past four years, I've had an idealistic theory that, if we create ballets that people really enjoy, ticket sales alone could support the company, and we wouldn't need large donations or grants. I've since realized that, without a product to sell (except for some awesome, hand-printed baseball tees,) it would take a lot of performances to make enough money to pay the dancers and musicians (and ideally, myself.) A lot of performances means a lot of time in the studio, rehearsing, which proves difficult when everyone has a paying job that takes priority. And so we've been doing one big show per year, rehearsing in between work hours, and having a really good time. We have such a good time, though, and our audiences have such a good time, that we really wish we could make this thing more of a regular gig. This is why I've taken the initial steps to make Municipal Ballet Co. a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization . . . so we can all, potentially, start getting paid (ironically) to do this thing that we really love. I've discovered that it costs a decent amount of money (about $1200 in lawyer's fees and $500 in filing fees) to apply to not make money. So, if there's anyone out there who would like to donate (not tax-exempt) to get us through those fees, so that you can continue to donate (tax-exempt!) we'd be super grateful.
Before we do become a nonprofit, however, I'd like you all to know that I'm not going to compromise my idealistic view of things. Even though I will graciously accept donations from wealthy donors who are looking for a tax break and are willing to help give the gift of ballet to our community, I would actually really prefer it if a ton of Salt Lake City residents donated just a few bucks each. It could be like your yearly ballet tax. If we got enough donations, we could scrap our $10 ticket prices, and let everyone into our shows for free. The idea behind Municipal Ballet Co. is to make ballet more accessible, and more approachable, to everyone in our community. We will never take your donations, or accept your Zoo Arts and Parks tax-funded grants, and then charge you $35 per ticket to see what we've done with your money. As a nonprofit, I promise we'll continue to be as frugal, low-key, and as fun as we've always been, but with more time to do it more often, and to reach even more people. I hope to see you at our next show that we're currently working on, which will be in May, and hopefully you'll come across us at a festival, or on a random street corner, this summer. I'll let you know when you can start donating (tax-exempt!)
All the Best,