Approaching our 1 year!
Has it been a year already? When we look back at all of the work we’ve done, and how far we’ve come since opening, it feels both much longer and much shorter at the same time. This time last year we had just finished painting and started laying floors. Our opening date was getting closer and closer and we still had so much work left to do. Building out the studio space and getting everything ready for opening required all of us to pitch in and work harder than we ever had before. Seeing our studio filling with students who were excited to learn and make new friends made all of the late nights and early mornings worthwhile (all 619 of you unique beauties!). In the course of this first year, we’ve continued to grow into our beautiful space, we’ve worked hard to build a talented team of instructors, and we’ve put many hours into developing the framework to make this nonprofit stand the test of time.
Speaking of nonprofits, one of the top questions we get asked is… What is this nonprofit thing all about? At Ascendance, we want to invest whatever the studio makes back into the studio, back into the community, and into programming and scholarships to grow and support our mission of making this artform more accessible for dancers from all walks of life. Choosing to go the nonprofit route means we are governed by a Board of Directors, who help set the direction of the organization. The Board is responsible for hiring the Studio Directors to run the studio and manage all its assets. This structure also allows us to submit for our 501(c)(3) charity status - once granted to us, this status will open up the doors to grants, donations, and other unique opportunities that will enable us to lower operating costs and provide more services for our students. We run our business just the same as many other studios - we sell classes and services to our clients in the same way many other businesses do. However, any profits over and above our payroll and operating costs goes right back into the studio.
From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to do things a little differently. We wanted to build a community with intention, to structure the business of running a studio so that no one person was responsible for everything, to share our talents and build something together as a team. We set to work early on key programs to support our mission. Our flagship program is our Scholarship Program. Launched in the winter of 2018, to date we have subsidized and supported 8 scholarship recipients. We look forward to growing this number in 2020. This Scholarship Program has enormous potential and is already making a difference in accessibility of pole and aerial for those who otherwise couldn’t afford it. We also have a work-study program with many wonderful work-trade students who help keep things running smoothly, greet and check in clients and in exchange, we are able to help keep their class costs down.
Going into 2020, we have big goals for year two. We hope that our completed 501(c)(3) application is submitted and approved. We intend to expand both our Scholarship Program and our Holding Space Program (if you don’t know about it, learn more here. We’re so excited about it!) and keep offering work-study opportunities. We also want to make monthly Community Jams a priority to help knit all of us together even more. Big, exciting stuff on the horizon; all while we continue to refine and expand our curriculum and programming, and keep this positive momentum driving us forward.
We thank you all for your continued support. We would be nothing without our students and are grateful you trust us. We look forward to serving you, dancing with you, and growing together in year two!
- Team Ascendance
Love, Team Ascendance!