The Donnelley Foundation has responded to a request for as much as $250,000 made on behalf of the Big Three: the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Ballet Theatre, and Charleston Stage.

The answer, according to a press statement released about 10 minutes ago, is no.

Not yet.

Instead, the foundation says it wants to “continue the conversation.”

“The board established an ad hoc committee, which reviewed the proposal submitted and will continue to respond to the crisis,” said Judith Stockdale, executive director, in a press statement.

The situation is that the Big Three are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fund-raising shortfalls. Charleston Stage needs to raise $200,000 this season. The outlook is most dire for the CSO. It’s projecting a $1 million deficit and has said that if it cannot meet its payroll, it will be forced into bankruptcy.

Last month, heads of the Big Three convened for a meeting with George Stevens, president of the Coastal Community Foundation. Stevens made the quarter-million dollar request as a means of stanching red ink as well as laying the foundation for what he’s been calling an “arts council.”

The press release said that Steven spoke with heads of the Big Three this afternoon to discuss how “to ensure that these three institutions remain sustainable and viable, as well as looking for ways to improve and enhance a cooperative environment for the arts at large in the Lowcountry.”

“We have asked to meet … to discuss the next step in this process,” Stevens said in the statement. “Donnelley has shown interest in the seriousness of this issue by forming a special ad hoc committee and we are hopeful that we can reconcile their concerns by continuing to revise this work-in-progress.” —John Stoehr


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