Situated in an office at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Artsbridge has served some 300 Chicago-area groups during the last 16 years, including Trinity Irish Dancers, Light Opera Works, Friends of Lincoln Park and the Guild Complex. It is one of the few organizations in the country specifically designed to provide arts groups with business education and technical assistance.
With an annual budget of $250,000, Artsbridge raises its operating funds from granting organizations. But it has been suffering from a funding crisis this fall and is in debt to the tune of some $50,000.
"We're not a sexy organization so far as funders are concerned, since we normally pass on our money to other groups," said Sharon A. Danhoff, Artsbridge executive director and its sole remaining full-time employee. "We're on the threshold of having to make a very difficult decision."
"Artsbridge offers the kind of one-on-one support that arts groups really need," said Marj Halperin, executive director of the League of Chicago Theatres. "It would be a mistake for funders to underestimate their worth."
Danhoff said the Artsbridge board of directors will decide the group's future within the next few days.
More Harry on the way: Tickets for the much-anticipated next installment of the Harry Potter saga went on sale in British cinemas on Friday, more than a month before the film opens.
Advance sales for "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" were expected to be high after the success of the first film, based on J.K. Rowling's books.
In "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," the boy wizard, played by Daniel Radcliffe, enrolls for his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
A Warner Bros. spokesman said the first film, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"released last year in the United States as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"had the highest advance box office sales of any film in Britain.
Money woes in Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Orchestra's endowment has dropped by nearly $10 million over the last two years, making an ongoing fundraising campaign vital to the group, officials said.
The endowment stands at $68.5 million, down from $78 million two years ago. A $75 million fundraising effort is under way, and $25 million has been raised so far, said development director Julie Diaz.
"The finances of the orchestra remain fragile, and the only long-term solution is the endowment drive," said Fredrick W. Kyle, chairman of the orchestra's finance committee.