As part of our regular look behind the scenes of Welsh National Opera, we spoke with Trusts and Foundations Officer Corinne Cox to find out a bit more about the Development team, responsible for fundraising.
Did you know that WNO is a registered charity? Our fundamental purpose is to make a positive difference and enrich the cultural lives of our communities, through bringing the work of new voices and perspectives to a national audience, delivering an extensive programme of creative participatory projects across Wales and England, and nurturing and developing the next generation of opera audiences, artists and advocates.
Aside from ticket sales and our significant funding from the Arts Council of Wales and Arts Council England, approximately 8-10% of WNO’s annual income comes from fundraising and I work as part of WNO’s Fundraising department who work to raise donations from members of the public, corporate sponsors, gifts from wills, galas, and grants from Trusts and Foundations.
My role focuses specifically on developing relationships with Trusts and Foundations who support a wide array of WNO’s activities be this our main-stage performances, roles within the Company, or our youth and community activities.
Like WNO, Trusts and Foundations are also registered charities and their purpose is to give money to charitable causes. Each foundation has its own set of objectives and the most rewarding part of my role is identifying foundations that share WNO’s aim to make a difference within communities and nurturing these relationships. My role involves a great deal of research and WNO’s current Trust and Foundation supporters include both Foundations who have supported the Company for over 20 years to brand new Trusts who are supporting WNO for the first time.
An example of the support that WNO receives from Trusts and Foundations is the extremely generous grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation, a long-term supporter of WNO, whose three-year grant supports the delivery of our Programmes and Engagement programme. This enables us to deliver wide ranging and impactful activities including weekly choir rehearsals for people living with Dementia in rural West Wales, music making workshops with refugee women and their children in Birmingham, Youth Opera groups in South Wales, North Wales and Birmingham, Schools Concerts which introduce thousands of young people to opera, and the development of a new operatic concert experience for young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on our activity. With performances currently on hold and many of our Programmes and Engagement projects now being delivered online we have been finding creative ways to keep our supporters engaged with the work we do during this time via Zoom and various digital events. We have been so grateful for the many messages of support, evident love of and loyalty to WNO that have been expressed by our donors. While forward planning has been difficult, we are also extremely thankful to those who have shown an understanding of WNO’s value to our communities during this time and continue to buy into our vision.