By all counts, the Rialto Square Theatre enjoyed a tremendous 2017.
A new board of directors for the Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority (WCMEAA) was appointed and seated in late January.
We then formalized our management agreement with VenuWorks in early 2017.
Valerie Devine joined us as our executive director last April 1.
We stabilized our financial position with a loan from the Rialto Square Theatre Foundation, allowing us to pay vendors that have been incredibly patient with past-due invoices. We now have positive cash flow, allowing us to effectively manage our trade accounts payable.
We expanded programming by 15 percent in both private and public events at the Rialto and re-engaged participation with community organizations and related events.
We also significantly increased sponsorship income.
In the last six months of 2017, sponsorship income ($154,000) exceeded similar income for the years that ended June 30, 2015 ($141,000) and June 30, 2016 ($126,000).
New sponsorship revenues of $70,000 were secured from 17 new sponsors during the final six months of 2017 while we have enjoyed a 15 percent increase in our exclusive Star Membership donor program and, equally significant, a 60 percent decrease in Star Membership nonrenewals.
With the inclusion of city funding, we are in line with budgeted financial expectations for our financial year ending June 30.
The list of people to thank is long, but worth special recognition are the dedicated and hardworking staff for their tremendous passion exhibited each and every day, the Rialto volunteers for their continued support of the theater, the Rialto Foundation donors for consenting to loan funds to the WCMEAA, the Rialto Square Foundation Board for their continued efforts to assist the WCMEAA in a number of ways, Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, Councilman Pat Mudron, our city council liaison and the entire city council for their continued financial support, and the WCMEAA Board for their commitment and guidance as we move forward.
I am confident the journey we have just begun will continue on an upward trend as we move into 2018.
• Robert F. Filotto is the chairman of the Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority.