Cultural Council asking for donations to help cover budget deficit

July 22, 2020 | Danielle Eaton

AGAWAM – The Agawam Cultural Council is asking for help making up a budget deficit they’re experiencing due to the coronavirus.

Chair of the Agawam Cultural Council, Bob Kadis, told Reminder Publishing the council is facing a $650 deficit. He said typically each year the council fundraises from January to May, which provides a large amount of money needed.

“What we do is fundraise from January to May, usually that brings in 60 to 70 percent of the money we need,” he said.

The other portion of the funds needed, Kadis explained, comes from “free will donations” at the end of performances. “Freewill is after the performance, people playing live, and we have baskets out there,” he said. Often, with free will donations, Kadis said the council will get “usually 30 percent, sometimes as much as 100 percent the cost of the event.”

With the coronavirus pandemic this year, he said “that’s not going to happen.” And while Kadis said they have fundraised and have received “some incredible last minute donations,” they’re still falling short.

Their most recent concerts, which are part of their Applause Series, will televise 12 musical acts from Sept. 4 to June 4, 2021. Each act will be streamed on Agawam’s Comcast Channel 15 and online at  Kadis said the first two musical acts have “been pre-recorded.”

For live performances, Kadis said musical acts will be brought “into the senior center with no audience, maybe just a few people.” Then, he said, “They’ll perform. It will be broadcast on Channel 15, and those who are outside of the area would watch it through the watch live button [online].”

He said those watching the performances will be reminded of the need to make up the deficit thought an introduction. “We’re going to mention that we will be accepting free will donations at the start. At the end they’ll be someone saying that this is where you can send your donations and it will be up on the screen,” he explained.

Those wanting to donate can do so by sending cash or check through the mail to the Agawam Cultural Center at the Agawam Town Hall at 36 Main St. Agawam, MA 01001. Kadis said those sending donations should include an email to ensure their contribution will be recognized on their website.

Kadis said the money will be used to cover the cost of the Applause Series. Should the amount of donations received exceed the $650 deficit they’re facing, Kadis said it will be put “in a general fund we call give back to the community.”

This money, he said, is used to “sponsor other activities.” He said, “We support the high school every other year by giving them a production fully staged. We have, over the years, give monies to the library to support cultural functions with the arts, the humanities, or books or materials they’d like to buy.”

Other examples of their generosity include giving each of Agawam’s four elementary schools $175 for materials, hosting a writing contest, supporting the Agawam Public Library’s arts and photography show, and donating money to the Majestic Theater Children’s Theater Program.

“We try to hold programs that will benefit the community at large. Not just Agawam, but other communities around Agawam,” he said. “None of it goes to the individuals, it’s all given out in forms of things we can do for the community.

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