Tower Theatre Foundation Launches a Spotlight on Education

Tower Theatre Foundation Launches a Spotlight on Education

A core component of the mission of the Tower Theatre Foundation is to “provide educational events that enliven and enrich the human spirit.” Nowhere is that more evident—and necessary—than in presenting educational programming for school-aged children. Since 2004, the Foundation has achieved this goal on an ad hoc basis. Now is the time to fully finance and formally organize an educational initiative using the Tower’s facilities and expertise to bring high-quality, literature-based and curriculum-related programs to the families and schools of Central Oregon.

The Foundation—a 501(3)c nonprofit—is launching an educational initiative for students K-12, using the Tower’s facilities and expertise to bring high-quality, literature-based and curriculum-related programs to the families and schools of Central Oregon.


Since reopening the Tower in 2004, the Foundation has made a concerted effort to book more family-friendly shows. These have been provided by community organizations (youth choirs, music, dance and acting troupes) and the Foundation itself (Peking Acrobats, Parks & Rec Showcase, The Tweaksters, B.E.A.T’s “A Christmas Carol”, and various family films).

The Tower’s track record with family-friendly shows is impressive, growing from 5 events drawing 1,046 people in 2004 to 37 events in 2010 with a total attendance of 10,743.


As of 2011, the Tower’s board of directors is making educational outreach and children’s programming a priority. Because of the Tower’s unique role in the tri-county area as the premier performing arts stage, it is positioned to provide excellent and relevant educational programming in partnership with schools and the community.

The fundraising initiative will occur in two phases—including a year-end campaign dedicated to raising funds for educational efforts—employing grant writing and increased solicitations for underwriting and sponsorships.

The goal is to establish robust educational programming and wide-ranging community outreach efforts by January 2012. During 2011 a variety of educational programming will be presented as a pilot project, providing workshops and special performances by selected performers already scheduled at the Tower. This educational outreach will take place at the theatre, in schools, and at various youth facilities.


Phase One is a December 2010 solicitation of citizens, patrons, stakeholders, donors and advised funds administrators. This would provide a base of community support and funding for educational programming in 2011-12. The goal is $10,000. Another solicitation would occur at the end of 2011.

Concurrent with Phase One is the submission of grants to underwrite selected educational and community outreach efforts with children’s programming in winter and spring of 2011.


Phase Two is the formation of The Stover Society, a new vehicle for making unrestricted gifts to the Foundation. This is not a membership group nor does it contain levels of separate benefits. Named after “Dutch” Stover (a pioneer theater owner in Bend, president of the Bend Chamber of Commerce, and a state legislator for Deschutes County), the Society will be formed with “seed money” contributed by Stover friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. In addition, initial money will be solicited from the recipients of Dutch and wife Ruth’s philanthropic efforts from the 1950s through the 1980s. The goal is to raise $20,000 from these friends and beneficiaries group.

Once fully “seeded,” The Stover Society would launch publicly in early 2011, and serve as the ongoing receptacle for public and private donations to further the Tower’s educational efforts. Money raised during the end-of-2010 campaign would be transferred into The Stover Society by June 2011.


Funds raised via a year-end appeal and The Stover Society will benefit and offset costs of providing educational programs at the Tower and in-school residencies throughout the tri-county area.

For example, an investment of:

· $250 provides a program study guide

· $500 pays for an artist-in-residence

· $1,000 supplies three school assemblies

· $5,000 buses 250 students to the Tower

Please donate by December 31st. Your tax-deductible contribution empowers the Tower to change the lives of students for years to come. Want to pay in four easy installments? Contact Lisa Vann at 541-317-0700 or Lisa@TowerTheatre.org

“We support Bend's historic Tower Theatre. The theatre is an important asset to the performing arts in Central Oregon, collaborating with other nonprofit organizations and bringing performing arts to local schools. The theatre has not been immune to the current economic environment, but after thoughtful planning, they are poised to weather the downturn. OCF encourages the local community to support the Tower.”

-- Megan Schumaker, Senior Administrative Officer for Grants at Oregon Community Foundation

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