Canada’s National Ballet School

Heritage as the launchpad for Grand Jeté

The first time Canada's National Ballet School approached Graeme Page and Doug Simpson, NetGain Partners hadn’t been formed yet. The School was trying to conduct a study to reveal the scale of development that community and government support would bear. They could then encourage their Board to lead the process of replacing dangerously inadequate facilities.

NetGain’s advice was to let the buildings’ requirements and functions determine the scale of the fund raising goal, instead of the other way around. We felt that a case based on need would be more compelling than a case based on opportunity. The School chose to seek counsel elsewhere. Five years later the project was still in its formative stage, the Board having yet to approve a plan. The School’s government relations advisor invited NetGain to join project planning meetings that had bogged down on cost and timing issues. On the authority of the Adminstrative Director, NetGain worked with internal stakeholders to reduce overall project cost from an initial $124 million to an $86 million capital budget.

NetGain then created a comprehensive presentation to the Board laying out the critical need for new facilities, the costs, timelines, sources of support, and government relations strategy.  Once Board approval was received, NetGain provided economic impact analyses and arguments to help the School complete a funding request for $40 million in federal and provincial funds.

The third time the Ballet School approached NetGain, the government relations strategy of Jenny Ginder had succeeded and a public announcement of $40 million in funding was made. The School engaged Doug Simpson as its “secret agent of change,” to help senior managers and Board committees to function through a period of unfamiliar challenges and upheaval.  One goal was to raise organizational performance standards to match the amazing new facilities provided by generous philanthropists and taxpayers.

When the School and Ketchum Canada parted ways after two years of suboptimal results, NetGain principal, Graeme Page, was assigned to lead the Board’s capital campaign, successfully raising an additional $47 million and vastly improving the School’s fund raising capacity for the future.