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PONCHO is dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the Seattle region through increasing resources and community support for the arts.
Many people don't know that PONCHO is an acronym for "Patrons of Northwest Civic, Cultural and Charitable Organizations." This was the name given to the first ever charitable auction put on by a group of Seattle business, philanthropic and arts patrons in 1963.
Their singular mission at the time was to raise enough money at the event to retire the $35,000 debt, incurred by the Seattle Symphony despite the successful performance of Aida at the Seattle's Worlds Fair. The first PONCHO Gala not only covered the debt, but they raised enough additional money to give $50,000 to the Symphony to help establish the Seattle Opera, $15,000 to the Council on Aging and $1,000 to the Seattle Chorale.
From that spectacular beginning, PONCHO has gone on to raise over $34 million to support more than 200 local arts organizations. The key to its success has been an all-volunteer board of people who love the arts and are willing to do the hard work necessary to raise the money.
PONCHO has been instrumental in helping to create the venues and the performances that have earned Seattle the reputation of a community that fosters world class art in all its forms. There is no other organization in Seattle quite like it.
Passion, dedication, and the desire to bring together the area's riches of artistic talent. To create a diverse and expansive community which celebrates and supports the vitality and variety of arts we enjoy. This is today's PONCHO. The oldest art funder in the state, PONCHO has been giving to the arts since 1963, setting the stage for even the smallest of organizations to shine. PONCHO's core belief is that a hands-on giving approach is fundamental to being true to our vision.
- Eric Midby
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