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Arts charity appeals to community for cash lifeline

Fiona Rodriguez-Roberts, director and founder of Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation

Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation has made an appeal to the community to help save it by closing a near $130,000 funding gap.

The charity already reached out to its members asking for $135 contributions that reduced the gap from $135,000 to $128,000.

The gallery and educational arts programme, which needs to raise the funds by August 31 to help keep its door open, went public with its plight last week with an article and a Letter to the Editor in The Royal Gazette.

Fiona Rodriguez-Roberts, KAF’s executive director, said spiralling health insurance costs and other factors have left the charity in financial difficulty. This included a 23 per cent rise in the insurance coverage for her staff.

The charity has since sent out a letter highlighting the work it does in the arts for children in the community.

It said: “How do we make a difference? We see 330 public school students in our Creative Minds Programmes and 100 per cent of the teachers surveyed would recommend this programme to others.

"KAF has provided awesome opportunities for the little people to have exposure to the world of art.

“Public preschool teacher: we see over 600 public school students with our partnership with Bermuda Education Network in multidisciplinary creative learning.

"This collaboration with BEN is such a great initiative from both the teachers' and the students' points of view. In this one visit to Kaleidoscope, we incorporated our units in science, English and a bit of social studies, all while the students were relaxed, being creative and having fun. That is true learning.

“Public primary school teacher: we provide bursaries. The bursary provided by the foundation has been instrumental in making this journey possible for our daughter. It has afforded her the chance to delve into and expand her creative horizons, something we might not have been able to provide on our own.

“2023-24 bursary parent: we have been a non-profit for 18 years; our work has just begun. Please help us ensure the work continues.

“We need $129,000 before August 31.

“If you cannot help financially, please advocate for us to those that can donate. Kaleidoscope is important. Art-based play is important. Our island’s children need us and they need you to stand up and fight for them.

“Please reach out and help Kaleidoscope through this.”

Excerpts from a letter to Kaleidoscope members

With big hearts and to our detriment, we believe in our product so much that we have run our bursary and Creative Minds Programmes without the funds to do so. When we went out to the public earlier this year with asks to support our bursary programme, we already had children coming to classes that term that we had not raised money for. These children had been in class the term before, and how could we possibly not have them finish out the school year?

Yes, non-profit must and should be run just like a for-profit business. It is prudent and ethical and the only way to run sustainably. However, non-profit work with a social component that profit businesses do not.

We put up our summer camp prices for the first time in a really long time, offering our camp at $375 a week. This still does not cover our costs. It costs us $475 for a week of camp. You may be wondering, why are we charging $375?

Would you put your child in a camp for $475? There are 13 weeks of camp that working parents need a year. Do you have more than one child? That is a lot of money. The cost of living has gone up for everyone. It is really hard for the majority of people on our island. Raising our fees makes the divide between those who can afford to come and those who cannot spend that money on what is not deemed a necessity, even wider.

Our space for children is the nourishment they need to thrive. Kaleidoscope is a space outside of school and home where they can feel empowered and express themselves authentically without limits and judgment through our arts and garden programmes. Raising our fees makes the number we have to fundraise, bigger. We were hoping to raise $175,000. We raised $40,000. Thank you. Thank you to everyone who gave to this. You have made a difference in so many children’s lives.

The bulk of our funds go towards paying our staff a living wage in Bermuda. Our teachers get paid significantly less than government teachers and are all successful artists in their own right. They do this out of passion. Without them, there is no Kaleidoscope.

Donations to the charity can be made by direct deposit via Bank of Butterfield: Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation, account number 20-006-060-807-509-100. For more information about KAF, visitkaf.bm

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Published June 20, 2024 at 7:57 am (Updated June 20, 2024 at 7:57 am)

Arts charity appeals to community for cash lifeline

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