My name is Thomas Knowles and I live in Memphis, Tennessee. I am in the
beginning stages of trying to create a nonprofit performing arts school
that encompasses the dance, musical, and dramatic arts called the Memphis
Performing Arts Conservatory.
The mission of the organization will be to provide an exceptional
learning environment designed to increase access to the performing arts
for area residents, particularly disadvantaged and underserved youth, by
provision of a) quality instruction, b) outreach/scholarship programs,
and c) collaborative efforts with local agencies and organizations of an
We intend to service not only financially-disadvantaged youth but also,
through the Very Special Arts program, develop programs to bring the arts
to mentally or physically disabled youth in the Memphis/Midsouth area.
We (meaning myself and my wife at this point) have had lots of interest
from everyone we have spoken with. We have met with our city mayor's
office and there is strong interest there: we have been encouraged to
apply for city funding from next year's fiscal budget. I learned on the
13th that our county mayor is interested in meeting with us in person to
see what this is all about and how the county can be involved.
We also have the opportunity to go before a major contributor in the next
two weeks who could quite possibly donate a 25,000 sq ft building for our
use. This building is in Memphis' downtown district and is directly
across the street from a new public school that will be in operation by
Fall 1999. This will be our chance to offer participation to this person
in a big way. At this point, we have no funding whatsoever. We have,
however, applied for a $25,000 startup grant from a local religious
institution (at the request of the Administrator of the Endowment Fund)
that seems very interested in helping us.
I am charged with the responsibility of creating the materials for our
proposal and am in need of help. Descriptive materials of our purpose and
mission are not a problem. Curriculum design is not a problem. Neither
are overall scope and marketing plans. Real-world budgetary figures are.
It is very difficult for us to estimate what are good numbers for
starting a school like this and an annual operating budget.
Is there any way that I could ask some of you for assistance? Sample
budgets or actual proposals of this sort would be optimal of course. Or
current Operational Plans for these kinds of organizations might be a
great place to start. I realize that I am asking you for a lot of
information. But since we are working toward the same goals, I hope this
request won't be seen as disrespectful or subversive.
If you could make time to respond or send me some information, we would
be MOST appreciative.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
1583 Hayne Rd
Memphis, TN 38119