Coronavirus News: NYC Theatre Development Fund launches fundraiser for its own survival

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The Theatre Development Fund, a non-profit that has been serving audiences and productions since 1968 and is best known for its TKTS booth in Times Square, announced it is launching a fundraiser to help the organization survive amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The TDF Lifeline Campaign: Protect Today, Rebuild Tomorrow aims to raise $500,000 by June 30 to help sustain critical operations during the shutdown and into the challenging recovery period ahead.

"As an organization that relies on theatre and dance performances and the venues they perform in for our livelihood, TDF has been seriously affected by the coronavirus pandemic," Executive Director Victoria Bailey said. "We earn 85% of our revenue to fund our services, including our Accessibility, Education and Community Engagement programs, from the per-ticket service charge from the TKTS booths and handling fees from our TDF membership program. We have launched this fundraising campaign to help TDF weather this difficult time as we develop new ways to work with our constituents digitally, and plan for the major work ahead when theatres reopen and need audiences. The cultural sector will play a vital role in rebuilding New York City, and TDF is committed to being there to support the effort in every way we can."

The booth in Times Square stands as silent and dark as the rest of Broadway, with no tickets to sell anytime soon. And TDF needs the lifeline.

"To keep us strong so that when the theaters re-open, we're in a position to help and to help with that re-building," Bailey said.

The group sells 2 million discount tickets every year.

"Basically, the money dried up," Bailey said.

The profits fund programs like the one bringing veterans to see Broadway shows for free. There are special performances for children with autism, and others to introduce high school students to the magic of live theater.

Now, the TDF needs the public's help in order to reopen later.

"We're about New York City," Bailey said. "So this is really reaching out to New York City to say, 'We're here. We need your help if you're in a position to help us. And we're not going anywhere.'"

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