The orchestra's board agreed to make a public appeal to save the ensemble after canceling its fourth fundraiser last week. Failing a quick infusion of $70,000-$100,000, the orchestra could be disbanded as early as March 2005.
More than a third of the RSO's $535,000 operating budget is covered by ticket sales and fees from contract performances. Corporate and foundation funding, along with public grants and fundraising, covers the rest, but such donations are down 14 percent from 2003.
Even an expected $60,000 grant from the city's Arts Commission could be cut. The commission, which has been keeping a closer eye on its recipients, would like to see the orchestra expand its audience and liven up its programming, and has warned the RSO that no bailout is forthcoming.
The orchestra has cut its costs by 30 percent in the last year, but is still saddled with a $116,000 deficit due to the higher costs of the Eisemann Center, its venue since summer 2003. Previously, the orchestra performed at the Richardson High School.
Orchestra chair Dalene Buhl attributed the decrease in contributions to the economy, the presidential elections, and the terrorist attacks of September 11.