With (really) late push, county's arts council receives $1.66 million in pledges for 2018.
With final donations still coming in less than an hour before Robb Hankins was scheduled to announce results from the 2018 ArtsinStark fundraising campaign, it appeared a 12-year streak of making goal stood in jeopardy.
"Will Year 13 be lucky or unlucky?" Hankins, president and CEO of Stark County's arts council, teased the crowd of arts enthusiasts inside the towering atrium of the newly renovated Hercules Apartments complex on the southern edge of downtown Canton.
For the past several days, until moments before the announcement, even campaign chair Mark Sterling wasn't sure ArtsinStark would reach its targeted $1.66 million goal.
"Robb tells you what you need to know — at the last minute. I don’t know if he was keeping me in the dark or just not good at numbers," said Sterling, president and CEO of Beaver Excavating.
"Robb said, 'I’ll tell you as soon as the sun is shining. In our world, that means 'when the sun is shining.' In Robb’s world, that's not till after 9 o'clock."
With a $1,000 pledge here, $2,000 there and a few other late gifts and pledge increases, the campaign "got over the hump" and reached the $1.66 million mark, Hankins said.
"This is always dramatic right to the end," Hankins said. "Eight years ago was the last time we were able to say, 'We've got this one.' Every other year, it has been, "Why does it have to be so hard?"
Hard, perhaps, but also rewarding.
"Of the united arts fund drives in the country (there are only 40), we are the only one to make goal for the past 12 years," Hankins said.
Annual funding supports the seven largest groups in the arts council: Canton Palace Theatre, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Ballet, Players Guild, Massillon Museum, Voices of Canton and Canton Symphony Orchestra. It also supports numerous small grants for artists and programming across the county.
"The arts add to children's lives," Sterling said. "It helps the whole community."
Hankins specifically mentioned TimkenSteel and Aultman for workplace campaigns that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars each. He also noted the council's Artemis Society, for donors giving at least $5,000, grew by seven new individuals this year and now stands at 62 members.
For more information about ArtsinStark, go to ArtsinStark.com or call 330-453-1075.