A financial update on the 177 Project
For those of you that followed our 2018 season, none of this will be particularly new to you but we felt like it was important to maintain transparency on our page for those that had questions!
In the Fall of 2018, we launched the 177 Project under the impression that we had a substantial grant on the way. We had been in discussions for months and there was a verbal commitment in place to support our launch. As the season dragged on, the grant never arrived. Seemingly overnight, emails began to go unanswered. Phone calls were not returned. It wasn’t until well into 2019 that we were informed that our contact at the organization had left abruptly. There were no “I’m no longer with the organization” auto-replies or anything like that. In short, when he left, that door closed and we had absolutely no idea.
Needless to say, as the season progressed and no grant arrived, the financial side of the 177 Project fell apart. While we scrambled to raise as many small gifts as possible, there was no way to put together an organized campaign in such a short time frame. Coming out of the Fall, we owed a balance to almost every musician that had gone out with the 177 Project. It was devastating to say the least.
At the end of the season, we had a choice to make. While we were facing a pretty substantial hole, we also saw 30,000 people encounter Christ at our events in just over 3 months. We knew that, if we folded the organization, no one would get ever be made whole and it would be the end of these events that had shown so much fruit. If we continued forward, we could bring more people into an encounter with Jesus and figure out a way to fulfill our obligations to the folks who participated in our 2018 season.
In the end, we decided to tweak our model to make sure that we accommodated the artists without the need for a huge grant and that we had a sustainable way to pay down our debt to the musicians that worked so hard last fall. No artist will go out this fall without being paid in advance and we’ve structured our evenings so that large portions of the love offerings taken at each event can go back towards our debt.
We have a lot of bridges to rebuild. A lot of people were impacted when the grant fell through and there’s a lot of pain that comes with that. We’re working hard to mend those relationships and make things right. We’re thankful for every venue that has partnered with us, for the musicians who have believed in our mission, and for the people who have supported our ministry by attending one of our evenings.