I wish to clarify remarks made by Sam Guthrie in his letter to the editor on Tues., Nov. 18. He is correct that the CBJ Assembly allocated $50,000 to Perseverance Theatre last summer. What many people may not know, however, is that this money was allocated to support a $500,000 challenge grant awarded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in New York to establish a $1 million endowment fund at the theatre. In allocating funds towards the match, the Assembly was recognizing Perseverance Theatre's significant contributions to Juneau's quality of life, contributions that a "Perseverance Permanent Fund" will maintain in perpetuity.
It was also recognizing the theatre's role as an economic generator. The theatre has established a strong track record over the last 25 years in attracting the most valuable kind of money into our economy: money from Outside. In the last five years alone, the theatre has attracted $3 million from foundation and corporate sources located outside of Juneau. More than half of the theatre's expenses are payroll, which means the bulk of this money is spent on rent, groceries, gas, etc.; meanwhile, another 15 percent goes to local lumber, paint, printing and office supply purchases. In this manner, the theatre provides benefit to everyone in Juneau, not just those who attend and enjoy our productions. This, I believe, explains the Assembly's uninterrupted 20-year history of support for the theatre, as well as its allocation of funds towards this endowment challenge grant last summer.
In closing, I am pleased to report that just last month the William Randolph Hearst Foundation in San Francisco awarded $100,000 towards the endowment challenge, and that we intend to raise the remaining $350,000 from other foundation and corporate sources, plus a campaign we'll run amongst Alaskan individuals and businesses, within the next 24 months. The theatre also just received word of a $400,000 grant from New York's Wallace Foundation to support our work with the Alaska Native community. None of these achievements would be possible without the strong support of our municipality, for which we remain deeply thankful.