Tricentennial fundraising shortfall could mean scaled-back celebrations

Tricentennial Commission short more than half of private fundraising goal

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio is 101 days away from the start of its Tricentennial celebration, but the Tricentennial Commission is almost $6 million away from its fundraising goal for private dollars.

The nonprofit group, which is organizing the celebrations for the city's 300th birthday throughout 2018, has raised only $4.31 million of its $10.3 million goal — roughly 41 percent, by its calculations. While fundraising will continue into 2018, the commission's CEO said less money could mean that the scope of events is adjusted.

"We are moving very fast. Do we need to move faster? Absolutely, and we have the support to do that," said Edward Benavides, Tricentennial Commission CEO.

Benavides said the commission has more possible sponsors in the wings.

"It's a matter of aligning their goals and pillars to what our goals and pillars are in the four components of the Tricentennial," he said. "And we expect here in the next several weeks to make those announcements — and actually into 2018 as those come to fruition and we have commitments from those organizations."

Fundraising will continue into 2018, he said, and the commission is confident it will hit its $10.3 million mark. However, the scope for Tricentennial events aren't set in stone and can be adjusted depending on if they have more or less money than expected.

"While we have a project budget, it is nimble and flexible and we adjust based on the realization of dollars," Benavides said. "And if we don't receive it, then we adjust and we accommodate for that."

However, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who said the commission is lagging in fundraising, is keeping the bar high.

"We are going to make sure the Tricentennial is that once-in-a-lifetime moment where we can declare ourselves ready for the moment. That is going to be true. That's why I'm going to be fully involved in it," he said.

District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino, who is also head of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee, said council members will get involved as well.

"We really have no time to waste blaming anybody," he said. "We're here to work. We're here to get it done, and we're going to do it."

Benavides said the commission does not expect to ask for any more public money.

DISCLOSURE: KSAT 12 is the official media partner for the Tricentennial celebration.

About the Author: