A Grand Jeté for Atlanta Ballet

ATLANTA - Today, Atlanta Ballet announced the successful completion of its largest fundraising effort in the history of the company - the “Choreographing our Future” capital campaign – which culminated at a noteworthy $20.7 million, far exceeding its original goal of $14.8 million.

The announcement comes just months after the Ballet celebrated a $2 million gift towards the campaign from the Goizueta Foundation, which was the second largest single gift the Ballet has ever received.

Campaign chairs Lynda Courts, an Atlanta Ballet trustee and former Atlanta Ballet dancer, and Tommy Holder, CEO of Holder Construction, made the announcement to more than 50 of the organization’s major donors and supporters at the Ballet’s inaugural Director’s Circle Luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead.

The campaign’s primary purpose was to support the purchase and renovation of the Ballet’s new LEED-certified headquarters, which opened in August 2010 in West Midtown Atlanta. The remaining dollars were allotted for product and audience development, expanded marketing, and general long-term sustainability of the organization.

The campaign began in June 2008 under former Executive Director Barry Hughson and immediately received tremendous support. By June 2010, only 18 months after the campaign’s launch, the Ballet nearly reached its goal and announced its intent to expand the goal by another $4.5 million to a total of $19.3 million.  

The lead contributor to the campaign was the Thalia and Michael C. Carlos Foundation. Chris Carlos, son of the late Michael Carlos, and his wife Merry made a pace-setting gift of $3 million on the Foundation’s behalf - the largest donation ever made to the Ballet - to name the facility in his father’s memory. They later announced an additional $1 million commitment to the campaign, totaling their contributions at $4 million.

Other key campaign donors included Audrey B. Morgan, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation, the late Mrs. Laura Smith, The Holder Construction Foundation, and Atlanta Ballet trustee Patti E. Wallace.

In addition to being the largest and most successful capital campaign in Atlanta Ballet’s history, the campaign achieved several other milestones, including:

  • Sale of Atlanta Ballet ‘s former building, which resulted in a $4 million gift to the campaign

  • Grand opening of the Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre

  • Return of the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra

  • Five campaign gifts of $1 million or more, including two record-setting single gifts

  • Campaign support from Atlanta Ballet ‘s Centre for Dance Education parents through the “Join Us at the Barre” effort

  • Critical investments in our artistic programming, including the world premiere of Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin

  • Expansion of the endowment

  • Establishment of a cash reserve fund

  • Establishment of an artistic innovation fund

Although the success of the capital campaign has allowed the Ballet to make many significant strides artistically and financially, Executive Director Arthur Jacobus assures there’s more to come.

“We have bold plans and high aspirations,” said Jacobus, who joined the organization in November 2009.  ”The goal now is to build the Atlanta Ballet brand by distinguishing the Company both locally and nationally, with a distinctive artistic profile, and capitalizing the institution so that it is sustainable for generations to come. The work we’ve done has brought us closer to that reality, but there’s still a ways to go. The Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre was the foundation, and we now want to build on that.” 

Future plans include a 200-seat black box theatre at the Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre, a “fully funded” endowment and expansion of the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory program. Additional fundraising will also support the company’s artistic endeavors to bring world -renowned choreographers and innovative works to Atlanta Ballet.

About Atlanta Ballet
Founded in 1929, Atlanta Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the country and the official state Ballet of Georgia. Atlanta Ballet's eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals. After 82 years, Atlanta Ballet continues its commitment to share and educate audiences on the empowering joy of dance. In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education and is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. The Centre serves over 150,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet's roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city's cultural growth and revitalization. For more information, follow us on Twitter @atlantaballet, and like us on Facebook at

Sigele Winbush - (404) 862-2081