Show me the money

Published 12:14 am Sunday, June 1, 2008

NATCHEZ — The organizers of the Natchez Festival of Music are living out a bit of a movie plot this weekend.

Late last week the group received a challenge that pays.

If the festival can raise $30,000 by Monday evening they’ll be given a matching $30,000 from a Chicago foundation.

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The Richard H. Dreihaus Foundation has given to the festival before, and will do so again if matching funds are found.

Dreihaus has visited the Natchez festival and is reportedly a fan of its shows.

As of Saturday evening, the festival was approximately one-third of the way to the goal, Natchez Festival of Music Chairman Paris Winn said.

And the extra money would make a world of difference as this year’s festival ends and preparations for next year’s shows begin.

“Normally, we end up the festival and we have some accounts receivable that we are chasing for a long time, almost to the beginning of the next festival,” Winn said.

If the festival receives the matching grant, the funds would be used to pay bills first. The remaining $15,000 to $20,000 would go in the bank. The festival has not been able to put money in the bank in the past, Winn said.

“The (leftover) money would be a startup fund that we will be adding to with a few thing through the year that will help make that grow,” Winn said.

To donate to the cause, contact the festival at or at 601-442-7464.

The festival can accept all forms of monetary donations, including credit cards, Winn said.

The Driehaus Foundation supports historic preservation, conserving open spaces, encouraging quality community and landscape design in addition to supporting the performing and visual arts.

The foundation donated $50,000 to the festival in 1997, and recently donated funds to renovate the gardens at St. Mary Basilica.