BENEFITING: First Night Hartford Inc
EVENT DATE: Dec 31, 2016
“SAVE FIRST NIGHT HARTFORD” CAMPAIGN First Night Hartford is currently running a funding campaign until August 15, 2016 to help save the event from shutting down this year as well as in the future. Now in its 28th year of planning, First Night Hartford is in jeopardy of not holding any further annual New Year’s Eve events including this year’s event scheduled for Saturday, December 31, 2016. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $65,000 to reach a shortfall in our budget due to City of Hartford budget cuts and added fees this year for city services. We have already raised some contributions to date from annual givers and expect more soon but there will still be a shortfall this year to meet our entire budget. We work diligently throughout the year to submit grants and continue relationships with ongoing sponsors and seek out new prospects. There is a matter of grave concern for the survival of First Night Hartford due to overall budget constraints in the City of Hartford budget. The cuts have resulted in The City’s decision to eliminate funding for most if not all non-profit special events, including its financial contribution to First Night Hartford. We do truly appreciate all the past support from the City. We understand that cuts in the budget are necessary. The financial cuts have a dire affect though on First Night Hartford’s organizational budget so we are reaching out to the community for donations and sponsorships to ensure the event survives. We must be creative in raising funds in alternate ways for the event to continue. First Night is a non-profit special event that was originally started by the City of Hartford in 1989. Eventually the event was turned over to a volunteer board which established a non-profit organization with 501 ( c ) 3 status. For almost three decades, First Night Hartford has been Hartford's premier New Year's Eve party; a friends and family- friendly, multicultural, artistically unique, alcohol-free New Year's celebration with countless professional musicians, artists, performance groups and exhibits that inspire thousands of people of all ages to attend each year. The audience served each year averages 10,000 – 15,000 attendees. Demographics include infants to seniors, generations of families, all races and ethnicities, all income levels, local residents as well as visitors from the suburbs and all over Connecticut and a little beyond. Each year on average we hire approximately 150 talented local and regional artists which are showcased at over 20 performance areas downtown. There is no other organization that produces a New Year’s celebration in Hartford or the surrounding area such as the annual First Night Hartford. Our programming consists of diverse regional and local artistic talent at multiple indoor and outdoor venues in downtown Hartford including churches, historic landmarks from 2PM until Midnight, with two fireworks displays at 6PM and Midnight in Bushnell Park. Funding for many U.S. community festivals has decreased significantly over the years. State, municipal and, business contributions have been on a downward trend since 2008. First Night has not been immune to decreased funding but has adapted tremendously along the way by cutting expenses significantly to survive while still producing a quality event. First Night's mission is to broaden and deepen the public's appreciation of the visual and performing arts through an innovative, diverse and high quality New Year's Eve program which offers the community a shared cultural experience that is accessible and affordable to all. The First Night marks the passage from the old year to the New Year with art, ritual and festivity. First Night Hartford’s success comes from financial sponsorship, donors, in-kind sponsorship, volunteers, patrons, and passionate artists and arts organizations. We are very grateful to everyone that has given and participated throughout almost three decades. This collaborative effort has allowed us to continually offer moderately priced all day admission tickets at $12 for adults and $3 for youth. Children ages 3 and under are free admission. We are reaching out for donations because there is still public demand for this event. Community festivals are valuable in so many ways. Festivals such as First Night Hartford make a difference each year by giving people in Hartford and surrounding communities an opportunity to spend the holiday in a safe, family and friends-friendly environment that is alcohol free in a shared cultural experience for all ages. First Night also brings community leadership together, attracts visitors, encourages downtown businesses to participate in a constructive manner, displays community-wide acceptance, generates dynamic attitudes, gives volunteers a meaningful way to spend the holiday, fosters good public relations, has a positive social impact on the community, and contributes to local economic support. First Night collaborates with other arts organizations and those alike in our area that provide services needed to help produce our event. We are very proud to have the support from those organizations. It is a group effort that we appreciate very much. We would like to bring the 28th Annual First Night Hartford to Hartford on Saturday, December 31, 2016. In order to do so we must raise money. We invite donors to give via Crowdrise . If you have questions please visit our website www.firstnighthartford.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also accept checks. Our address is on our website or call us at 860-727-0050. The Save First Night Hartford Campaign runs until August 15. At that point we will know the fate of the event.