iFest on death's door: Bankruptcy filing puts longtime Houston festival tradition at severe risk
Things are looking mighty grim for the Houston International Festival, with its organizing group filing for bankruptcy. iFest officials blame similar festival events and a lack of sponsorship dollars for the cash woes that compelled the move.
Although the organization that produces iFest, the Houston International Foundation, says it will do whatever it takes to revive the two-weekend spring fair that celebrates the city's cultural diversity, the group's increasing debt, coupled with weak attendance, has put the 44th annual tradition at risk.
Federal tax forms from 2012 lists net assets at a loss of $468,000, up from a loss of $314,000 the previous year. In September, the nonprofit's debt reached $680,000.
A statement from the board of directors states that, "Over the past few years, the foundation has sold all of its assets to pay its bills and has no assets left at this time. The hope had been that this year's festival would have provided some profit to begin to pay off some debt but that did not happen."
Among the organization's efforts to balance its budget was last year's decision to cease producing the Houston Holiday Parade. The parade's assets, valued at the time at $90,000, were sold for pennies on the dollar when iFest executive director Kim Stoilis couldn't find another partner to take on the responsibility.
Federal tax forms from 2012 lists net assets at a loss of $468,000, up from a loss of $314,000 the previous year. In September, the nonprofit's debt had reached $680,000. According to the Chronicle, federal disclosure forms revealed that the total debt amount stands at $725,000.
Can iFest be saved? Or is it time for a different event all together?