Letter to the editor | Endow the State

February 20, 2014 

I was surprised, not appalled, to read that the State Theatre had a net loss of $352,000 last year (“Director offers ‘sobering’ update,” CDT, Feb. 11).

Artistic groups cannot live on ticket income and small annual gifts to the general fund. The State needs more endowed funds.

In addition to (paltry) contributions for general operations from membership levels (Member, $100; Patron, $250; Assistant Director, $500; and Director, $1,000) and a gift box in the lobby, more long-term investments need to be made.

I am known to family and friends as a tightwad, but if I give $1,000, I do not want it exhausted in one year.

The State has two endowed funds generating about $7,000 a year. The Nittany Valley Symphony has five, generating about $25,000 a year. The Centre County Community Fund manages funds for both groups efficiently and effectively.

Many funds, once large enough to be “endowed,” allow half of earnings to be used in a given year and the rest added to the endowment. Often, such endowments continue to receive gifts.

The time is ripe to capitalize on the very popular production recently of “Annie” at the theater.

Come on, board, strike while “Annie” is still hot in the minds of those who attended.

Start a five-year drive to pay part and, eventually, all of the artistic director’s salary with endowment earnings. Other designated funds can be established at the same time and in the future.

Joe French, State College

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