2008 End of Year Directors Note
December 2008

Dear Sitka enthusiast,

How did we spend your money this year? Each year, Sitka needs to raise over $550,000 to pay for workshop instruction, maintain buildings, distribute our catalog, run the copier, host our website, and pay our staff and contractors who keep the Center running smoothly. We also spend money to host the Art Invitational in Portland and provide the residency program to artists from around the world. Money comes from tuition for workshops, memberships and donations, foundations and corporate sponsorships, art sales, advertising, and even the sales of our t-shirts and gift cards.

We are a public trust. By virtue of our status as a non-profit, we belong to you.

So what have we done this year?
All of us on staff and on the board have enthusiastically put in long hours and extra effort to make your experience at Sitka overwhelmingly positive. And we have had some successes. This was our most financially successful workshop season with 743 people taking 74 classes. This year we paid over $100,000 back into the artist community in the form of payments to instructors for workshops and payments to artists at the Art Invitational. We also offered $92,000 worth of in-kind support to artists, writers, and ecologists through the residency program, providing studio and housing space for 13 people from 5 countries. We offered 9 community oriented events and 3 events for Elementary and Middle School Students. And we brought the Art Invitational back to Portland allowing 2800 people to see 400 pieces of art from 100 artists in a celebration of Art and Nature.

This has also been a year of rebuilding. We have been talking with our neighbors, our donors, and our past board members about Sitka's past and future, gathering ideas on our future direction. We have been rebuilding our operations with new accounting systems, behind the scenes website upgrades, new databases and communication tools for the staff. We have been working on a plan for rebuilding our campus to upgrade the energy efficiency of our studios and add a couple more residences for instructors and visiting artists. We have been rebuilding our funding base so we can carry our vision well into the future. We have been rebuilding our staff and board with wonderful people who care about where Sitka is headed and how we get there. We have some momentum going into 2009.

Despite these successes, Sitka does face challenges. We are trying to maintain our standards of excellence in a time when the economy is forcing corporations and foundations to cut back on their support. We have already made cuts where we can without significantly jeopardizing our operations. To maintain the integrity of the organization we are strategically borrowing from our reserves to carry us through these interesting times. But we need to achieve financial parity in 2009. We'll be looking to our partners for help as we close out 2008 and boldy embrace 2009.

We need you to invest in Sitka's future.
Consider this: Since the beginning of 2008, the stock market has lost almost 40% of its value. Sitka's investments by comparison are down only 11%. We are careful with the money you give us and we in turn invest back into the artistic community that benefits us all. We help people find that core creative self that needs nurturing. . .creative energy that our nation needs right now. This is an investment that will pay dividends for generations.

You can invest in several ways:

  1. Put Sitka in your will. Do it today. This is the path to a vibrant future for Sitka. You can help create an optimistic future for the next generation of Sitka enthusiasts. Sitka is healthy today because of bequests others have made in the past 5 years.
  2. Make a donation to support Sitka's operations. This is the hardest area for us to raise money, and yet this is what makes everything we do possible. Do it today! Really! Today. We need it.
  3. Make a donation to support Sitka's new energy efficient campus. Even bite-sized contributions of $25 add up when foundations match your gift. We raised $116,228 in 2008. We need to do that again in 2009. We have been hosting people in buildings constructed in the 1970's. They are near the end of their useful life. We need to work on these buildings now so we will have a campus for the next 40 years.
  4. Have your company adopt the Sitka Center. Be like Paul Newman. Lobby to designate a portion of your company's profits to the Sitka Center and watch the goodwill flow back to your organization.
  5. Get involved as a professional volunteer. We need help with Public Relations, Marketing, Legal, Accounting, Human Resources and web programming. We are a full time staff of three and it's hard to have the full compliment of management resources needed to do everything well. We need your skills to help us really shine.
  6. Host a Collector's Dinner Party and invite your friends: This is a fun, low-key way to raise awareness and support for Sitka. We'll help you do this. Just call us and ask us how.
  7. Help us connect with people who would be inclined to support Sitka. You know people who know people.
  8. Continue to take workshops, come to the open houses, and send us feedback to let us know how we are doing. Sitka is a community. We are here only because you want us to be here.

Thank you for your support!

Eric Vines
Executive Director 541-994-5485