It has been almost a week since we went to the public to appeal for support because our finances were faltering. And the response to our appeal has been an outpouring of affection for Best Video Film & Cultural Center, expressed in memberships, donations, social media sharing, and reports in such media outlets as Connecticut Public Radio and The Arts Paper. This support has been expressed numerous times by members coming into Best Video to tell us, “We don’t know what we would do without you.”
As of mid-day Monday, we have raised almost $18,000 through donations and supporters signing up for new membership plans or upgrading the plans they already have. These funds enable us to pay off all our outstanding bills and to start building a cushion for the rest of the year. This campaign has already substantively broadened our base of support in the community.
Having reached this point, we hope we can shoot for the goals of $20,000, or $25,000, or even our ultimate goal of $50,000.
With the addition of those who have joined over the past week, we now have over 400 members on the monthly or annual plans. Can you help us reach 450 or 500 by the end of the week? We have had longtime Best Video members who haven’t rented since as far back as 2010 sign up for plans. And we have had completely new members respond, too.
One new member wrote on Facebook today, “This is becoming a wonderful new routine! Just picked up a copy of The Mist (located in the Stephen King section) to blow my girlfriend’s mind tonight. Did you know that Best Video has a full bar and offers Foxon Park soda?”
In response to community interest, our café will be open later on Monday and Tuesday nights starting next week to go along with the hours it is open Wednesday through Friday when we have shows.
Also in response to a suggestion by a local resident, we will soon be rolling out a new membership option—the Cultural Membership Plan—for those who are more interested in the music and film events we offer than the movie rentals. The Cultural Membership will cost $20 a month or $200 for the year and will entitle the members to attend any BVFCC event at no further cost just by showing their member card. (It will not apply to events presented by outside promoters.)
We believe it is important to be responsive to the community. The community has always been there when we have needed help. We know what needs to happen and we believe it is possible, but we need your help to get us there. There are three ways that you can contribute:
• If you are not already a member, become a member today by signing up online or coming into our space. Programming director Hank Hoffman suggests a target of 200 additional members over the next few months in order to have enough recurring revenue to cover our current operating expenses.
• Make a donation online (or in person). General manager Richard Brown says raising $20,000 would catch us up with bills currently owed to vendors. Even better, BVFCC Board of Directors President David Margolis points out that raising $50,000 would enable us to also pay off the remaining debt to Best Video founder Hank Paper and establish a financial cushion that would facilitate expanded community programming and improvements to the physical space.
• If you have already donated and/or gotten a membership, share your affection for BVFCC on social media. The success of this campaign to date has been driven by incredible word-of-mouth on Facebook and other social media outlets. Please help us keep up the momentum through this second week by telling your friends what Best Video means to you.
We know that we can make that happen. Approximately 5,000 households support Best Video each year by renting videos, purchasing items at our cafe, or attending our events. If just one in five sign up for a membership plan, then we will reach our goal. If just one in ten make a donation of $100 or more, then we will exceed our goal of raising an additional $50,000 this year. Many hands…
If BVFCC were just a “video store,” we would have closed years ago. And perhaps deservedly so. But BVFCC is much more than that. It is a community gathering place, a performance venue, a film screening room, a national-level archive of the history of cinema, and a safe place for neighborhood children to come and hang out after school. It is a place where people, film, and music come together.
When you are a member of Best Video Film & Cultural Center—whether you pay on a recurring monthly basis or get a 10% discount by paying annually—BVFCC becomes your library of film. Depending on your level of membership, you get free admission to from 1-4 shows per month. Most importantly, you are part of a community dedicated to keeping BVFCC as an essential part of the cultural wealth of the greater New Haven area.
Very Truly Yours,
The BVFCC Board:
David Margolis, President
Scott White, Treasurer
Jean Blue, Secretary
Elin Schoen Brockman
Linda Satin Pancoast
Richard Brown, General Manager
Hank Hoffman, Programming director