Keep Lake Merritt Dance Open

We need to raise $30,000 from our communities to remain viable and open for dancing


If you’re reading this, you probably dance at the beautiful, historic Lake Merritt Veterans Hall. It’s home to over a dozen different dance programs. If one (or more) of them is important to you, and you want dancing to continue at Lake Merritt, we need your support.

What is Lake Merritt Dance?

Lake Merritt Dance is a nonprofit that is the Master Renter of the Lake Merritt Veterans Hall. We have one contract with the city that allows us access to the two main floors of the building (with six spaces for dancing) for a total of 30 hours, four nights a week.

The nonprofit status is essential. We’re not trying to turn a profit. We need to cover expenses and be prepared for the inevitable ebbs and flows (like when one of our dances decides to stop its program.)

Our mission is to keep the Lake Merritt Veterans Hall available for community dance programs at affordable rates.

Why does Lake Merritt Dance need to fundraise?

Although each dance program pays rent to Lake Merritt Dance, the income we receive from them is not enough to cover all of our expenses. About 20-25% of our income must come from community support.

This is by design: Lake Merritt Dance’s objective is to keep the rates we charge to dance programs as affordable as possible. Some of our programs simply would have to close if their rents increased.

That’s why we need you.

Please become a member of Lake Merritt Dance by donating on our GoFundMe page

There are a range of membership levels available. Find a level that is right for you and give what you can. Our goal is that everyone who values dancing at Lake Merritt will participate.

  • $25-$99 - Community Supporter
  • $100-$249 - Sustaining Member
  • $250-$499 - Patron of Dance
  • $500-$999 - Benefactor
  • $1000+ - Legacy Donor

To donate, choose the level that is right for you and let us know your name and the program you want your donation to be associated with.

Important: Employer matching funds make a big difference! If your employer offers matching donations, please contact Jeanette Forester - [email redacted] to get the details about how to access employer matching funds.

Thank you! With your support, we can keep Lake Merritt open for dancing.


What is a “Master Renter”

The City of Oakland owns the Lake Merritt Veterans Hall. City leadership wants local dance programs to use the beautiful spaces, but there is a catch: The city doesn’t have the staff to manage all of these different programs. So they require a single point of contact, a “Master Renter.”

That’s where Lake Merritt Dance comes in.

Does Lake Merritt Dance hold dances?

No, except for a few fundraisers per year, Lake Merritt Dance doesn’t hold our own dances.

We are here to provide a home for many dance programs and make it possible for them to hold dances.

So what does Lake Merritt Dance actually do? And why is it important?

Lake Merritt Dance does all of the non-sexy, behind-the-scenes administrative work that is needed to keep the programs going.

  • We signed the lease with the city and we’re responsible for paying the rent per month no matter what - even when a dance program decides to stop.
  • We create contracts with each individual program and ensure they have the proper insurance, schedule, and invoice. Managing finances is no simple task.
  • We are the point of contact for the city for all building operations.

Lake Merritt Dance’s work is important because if each of these individual tasks doesn’t get done, and doesn’t get done properly, then we can’t stay open. That means that our programs won’t have a home.

Who actually does the work?

We have a small volunteer board that established all of the systems and is still actively involved in day-to-day operations. We also have a paid administrator and bookkeeper. We couldn’t do this work without them!

Are there other ways to support Lake Merritt Dance?

Yes. Attend a benefit!

Some of our communities are sponsoring benefit fundraisers. We have two coming up in 2023.

  • SHAKE YOUR GROOVE THING! A benefit hosted by Texas Rose and SwingOut will take place on February 25, 2023. Mark your calendars - advance tickets available soon

  • Alixir Dance Benefit will take place on March 25, 2023

What is Lake Merritt Dance’s 501c3 status? Why are funds going to “Texas Rose Dance?”

Lake Merritt Dance is a California nonprofit organization. Our 501c3 application with the IRS is pending approval.

All donations to our GoFundMe page will be received by our fiscal sponsor, Texas Rose Dance, a 501c3 organization -- which is one of Lake Merritt Dance’s programs. Funneling the donations through Texas Rose means that all donations are tax-deductible. Texas Rose will hold the funds until Lake Merritt Dance receives our 501c3 approval. All funds will be used to support the mission of keeping Lake Merritt Veterans Hall open for dancing.

Thank you! We appreciate your support!

Donations (16)

  • Karen FONTANA
    • $25 
    • 9 mos
  • Annie Goglia
    • $50 
    • 9 mos
  • Michael difranco
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
  • Edmark John
    • $100 
    • 10 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 10 mos


Lake Merritt Dance
Oakland, CA
Texas Rose Dance
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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