Some amazing things happened at Singing Saturday. Sure, the boys rehearsed and sang for us (always amazing), but it’s the parents’ meeting that knocked my socks off. Special thanks to our Development Committee co-chairs, Gabriela Wehner and Amy Mendenhall, who guided Ragazzi’s Annual Fund to its best launch ever. With our special Impresari matching fund and our new video, 89 families were inspired to make their donations that morning. In fact, the matching fund of $40,000 was completely drained in about 10 minutes. Of our inspired donors that morning, 51 of them were either new or returning donors – and they collectively gave over $22,000. The other 38 families who gave last year, collectively gave over $18,000 more this year. These are stunning numbers.
With our Impresari donors, who contributed to the matching fund, a total of 106 Ragazzi families have made their Annual Fund donation or pledge. That’s almost 62% of our 172 families. That’s a good number, but not a great number, since one of our goals for the Annual Fund is 100% participation.
What about our other goal? As of November 12, we’re still about $30,000 shy of our monetary goal, which gets us most of the way to closing the gap between tuition and what training a Ragazzi boy for the season really costs. Why not charge more? We set tuition at an accessible level and then we use our scholarship program to help those for whom our already low tuition is still out of reach.
The Annual Fund is not only our biggest tuition-gap bridge, it’s also completely aligned with our values. While teaching music and singing, we teach the boys teamwork, leadership, cooperation, tenacity and more. Not just some boys: every boy. The Annual Fund is a chance for every family to support all the boys. Your participation allows Ragazzi to provide truly comprehensive music education. Your donations make it possible for all to afford this life-changing, life-affirming program.
Sure, there are some very well-to-do donors who give Ragazzi much more than the average donation. Why do they do so? They believe in the power of music and choral singing to make great art and great boys. And they want to help ensure that the team that does these things continues to thrive and transform lives.
Last Saturday morning we received some very large donations, but we also received some very modest ones – $10 and $25. Why would families donate at that level? They too believe in the power of music and choral singing. They too want to make sure that the team continues to thrive.
Fifteen of those 89 donor families last Saturday morning were scholarship families. Is that a weird idea? They already have their scholarship awards to help make Ragazzi more affordable. Then, isn’t giving to the Annual Fund just making Ragazzi less affordable? Why would they do that? Because they believe in Ragazzi’s mission just as much as anyone else, and they want to see the team soar. Limited means does not equal limited passion.
One great thing about the Annual Fund is that the entry bar is set at whatever you find affordable. It’s not an exclusive club – it’s completely democratic. A $20 donation can buy 5 to 10 boys copies of a piece of music. $50 would pay for a week of theory tutors in the Theory Study Hall. $100 could cover the cost of one accompanist for one rehearsal. And $1,400 covers the full gap between tuition and true educational costs.
Each donation helps. Every donation counts. All of it goes to the team.
Keep your eye out for Ragazzi’s Annual Fund letter. If you can’t wait, you can donate online through our secure website at https://ragazzi.org/donate/