The Impact of the New Net & Equipment Campaign

Last spring, we ran The New Net and Equipment Campaign, a fundraiser that started out as a $10,000 campaign to replace, install, and maintain our flying trapeze net. Thanks to a tremendous outpouring of support from you, our community, we ended up raising almost $26,000 - $16,000 over our original goal! - to support your equipment needs and the maintenance of our historic building.

As we announced in our October newsletter, your contributions have had a tremendous impact on Circus Center. Here’s a further breakdown of what donations to the New Net and Equipment Campaign have accomplished since the campaign ended in May:

Total raised during New Net & Equipment Campaign: $25,923

$2,800 - Purchasing and shipping the New Flying Trapeze Net - installed in September.
$2,500 - Net installation + maintenance for two years
$1,603 - Specialized tape and gauze for trapeze bar, replacement of eye bolts for travelling lines, flying gloves, and chalk
$1,500 - Gym deep clean & equipment room reorganization in September
$2,000 - Slightly used grey rolling mats in Theater, installed in September
$2,375 - 3 new toilets in both restrooms, installed in September
$1,953 - 13 pairs of new custom-made stilts, purchased in December
$390 - 1 new aerial hoop & taping, purchased in October
$200 - New lighting in lobby, installed in December
$3,586 - various small purchases like bands, shoes, rope and rope covers, velcro for mats, and building contortion platforms
$3,000 - Rigging maintenance and minor facility repairs

Total: $21,907
Remaining: $4,016 in reserve for upcoming equipment and maintenance needs.



Circus Center’s mission is to spread the joy of circus through performance, training, and community outreach. Our total budget for this fiscal year is over $1.4 million dollars. That includes instructors, administration, and staff for the dozens of classes a week we offer, professional-track and recreational youth programs, the professional training program Clown Conservatory, a production season with 12+ shows a year, our adaptive circus outreach program, and maintenance and repair costs for our building and equipment.

Most of the revenue to cover these costs – about 85%, in fact – comes from tuition for classes, group events, and summer camps. So why bother raising money at all? The basic answer is, we run fundraising campaigns so we can better serve our community and pursue our mission. More specifically, we raise funds to make major investments in our operation, and in order to do the things that make us more than another gym, but a non-profit center for the circus arts.

When it comes to investments, we look at two kinds: new and deferred. If we hadn’t run the New Net and Equipment campaign, we still would have replaced the flying trapeze net. After all, it was time for it to be replaced. But without your support, we might not have been able to do everything else for months, maybe years, while we saved up: upgrade all the toilets, or purchase new stilts, or replace the lights in the lobby, or make other vital purchases and repairs. What’s more, our facility is almost 100 years old, and has had many of its maintenance and repair needs deferred over the years. Your phenomenal outpouring of support from the New Net & Equipment Campaign gave us the freedom and flexibility to begin to catch up on 20 years of much-needed repairs, purchase more equipment, and fix more things, faster, to give you a better circus training experience.

Other fundraising efforts, like our current campaign and our recent major donor work, enable us to do important things that don’t cover their own costs, like our community productions, outreach programs, and more. In this way, we’re much like any other non-profit out there. Our current campaign, SHOW LOVE, supports our community production fund. The costs of putting on community shows, like the Winter and Spring Showcases, is not covered by class tuition or by ticket sales. With your support, together we’ll create 5+ original circus shows next year, starring our talented community: professional-track youth, Clown Conservatory trainees, and advanced adult students. Sharing the magic of live circus, and creating valuable opportunities for our talented community to perform and share their art with their community, is a vital part of our mission.

With your donations, partnership, and advocacy, we can bring the same professional quality shows, training, and outreach to the community we have loved and served for over 30 years. Thank you for your support, past and present, and for being part of the Circus Center family.

A Sneak Peek at the SF Youth Circus' Upcoming Original Show

This April and May, the young artists of Circus Center's pre-professional performance troupe, the San Francisco Youth Circus, will produce an original, full-length circus production. This year, it's something new: an intimate, story-driven show in the Circus Center Theater.

Inspired by the classic "dance battle" story, the show follows two competing schools heading to a circus competition, when suddenly their bus breaks down on a farm that just happens to house a mischievous young sprite. Can the competitors work together to get their acts to the competition in time? Or will they get SERVED? It's on!

"There's nothing better than hearing the audience react!" - Eli

Under the guidance of Steve Smith, the show's director and Circus Center's Creative Director, SFYC's young artists have been involved in every aspect of the show's development. Building on their in-class intensives on act-building and their years of circus training, they'll be doing everything from deciding on the theme to creating a storyline and characters to staging. There will even be a set painting party.

"Shows are a way to show off your talent, and bond and work as a team." - Mia

Director Smith adds: "The discipline of putting on a theatrical production like this helps our young artists in every avenue of life. Our two biggest values are respect - of yourself, your audience, and your craft - and focus. They learn to manage time, collaborate, and work and create as a team."

"Circus is really good for acceptance. You don't have to hide your quirks to fit in." - Klara

This show is one of the low-cost/pay-what-you-can community productions the SHOW LOVE campaign is all about: creating high-quality, original work by our pre-professional student artists that celebrates their talent, creativity, and years of hard work training.

"It's nice knowing you made someone's day because they saw your performance."- Montie

By supporting SHOW LOVE, you help give Circus Center's young and dedicated performers the chance to grow and create more excellent original and low-cost shows - for you. Please consider giving to SHOW LOVE today. Thank you!