Laboring to meet its fundraising goal despite the recession, the Arts & Science Council is extending its annual fund drive until March 29.
The campaign, originally set to end Friday, has nearly $1 million to go on its goal of $7.3 million, the ASC announced Wednesday.
The ASC thinks it can reach the target if it has "more time to connect with people," President Scott Provancher said Wednesday. "There are enough dollars out there if we are able to engage both past and new donors."
The ASC raises much of its money through workplace campaigns, and ASC volunteers at some businesses have said they could bring in more donations if the drive is extended, Provancher said.
The ASC also thinks it can nail down more corporate donations if it has more time to contact companies' leaders.
The campaign began Jan. 26. The goal, $7.3 million, equals the amount raised by the ASC's 2009 campaign. As of Wednesday, pledges totaled $6,350,000.
"We think we can end up ahead of last year," Provancher said. "But doing that in this economy in a six-week period is just not possible."
Charlotte's United Way, contending with sluggish fundraising, decided in November to keep its campaign open as long as it took to reach the $22.7 million goal. The drive ended up running more than two months beyond the original cutoff date.
The ASC set a hard deadline of March 29, Provancher said. "We feel it's important to keep that sense of urgency," he explained.
The ASC's 2009 drive, which occurred as fears about the recession peaked, fell short of the previous year's total by more than 30 percent. As a result, the ASC had to make sharp cuts in its grants to the dozens of cultural groups and individual artists it funds.
That's why meeting this year's target is important, Provancher said.
"An additional decrease in Arts & Science Council funding ... could be a crippling blow to the cultural community - and more importantly, to what the cultural community does for Charlotte and its quality of life."