By Barry Sturgeon, Davenport Trust Fund
Although their readership has declined in the current age of technology, newspapers are still a great resource to keep those of us in philanthropy informed about our communities, states, and beyond. A front page article in the June 17th edition of the Boston Sunday Globe, Phantom of the Theater: Audience is Getting Older, got my attention. It addressed the impacts on live theater of rising admission costs and aging audiences.
We are in the fourth year of an outreach program with our local summer musical theater, previously featured in ASF’s Essentials. More than 2,000 young people and their families have attended theater performances as a result of our collaboration with schools and nonprofit organizations. I thought it was important to tell readers that small foundations are making a positive difference every day, even if they are not hearing about it, so I wrote a letter to the editor.
I was pleased that the Globe editor contacted me and printed my letter the following week along with three other responses. The interesting thing to me was that my letter spoke to a solution through collaboration, whereas the other letters placed blame on the lack of arts funding in schools, on theaters for not discounting empty seats, and on the distraction of social media.
Generally, we leave promotion of our grant awards to the entity receiving the grant, but sometimes we need to tell our own stories.
Barry Sturgeon has been a trustee of the Davenport Trust Fund, which provides charitable, educational, religious, and temperance grants in the Bath, ME, area, for more than 19 years. He has managed the Trust since 2003 after working in county government for 25 years. He lives in Bath and enjoys gardening, local history, and theater in his spare time.