Magazine article Dance Magazine

... and the Dollars

Magazine article Dance Magazine

... and the Dollars

Article excerpt

[DM] There's a secret adage at Ballet Theatre, which I'll spill for you. Every once in a while, someone whispers, 'God loves ABT; otherwise, it wouldn't really exist.'" If the jovial bearer of this maxim, Lewis S. Ranieri, has anything to do with it, the company will face a future in which there will be no need for divine intervention.

Elected chairman of ABT's board of governing trustees in August 2002, Ranieri has already pledged $2 million of his own money to the company and offered for a particular project a $1 million loan guarantee (which was not needed). In case anyone thinks he's Alberto Vilar redux, be aware that Ranieri has already dispensed plenty of green stuff, defraying the expenses of some administrative salaries, underwriting the junior ABT company's housing, paying for two weeks of rehearsal for the parent troupe, and subsidizing the renovation of bathrooms and lockers in ABT's Broadway-at-19th-Street digs.

More important, Ranieri has energized fund-raising for a company whose very existence has seemed perennially in doubt. "ABT has always depended on the generosity of one individual, or a handful of them," he said. "In order to stabilize the finances of the company, we have broadened the donor base by going to nontraditional sources." In three years, Ranieri reports, that base has increased from 2,000 to 7,000. He has also raised approximately one-third of a targeted $30 million endowment fund.

Who is this guy? Brooklyn-born Ranieri has been attending ABT for fifty-one of his fifty-six years, built an investment firm in the 1980s, and currently is the lead director at Computer Associates on Long Island. …

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