The Endowment Fund began after the national festival in 1983 in Haines, Alaska. Due to very successful fundraising, the hosts had a substantial gain, even after reimbursing participant companies for their travel expenses. With this gain the Alaska state community theatre association challenged the national community theatre organization to match a grant of $3,000. The idea was to create an ongoing source of funds to underwrite travel expenses for festival participants. The challenge was met and the Endowment was born.
The Endowment reached $30,000 in 1990 and the first distributions were made to the participating companies of AACT/Fest '91. By the completion of AACT/Fest '99 in Memphis, the endowment principal had grown to more than $100,000 and $20,250 had been awarded to theatres to help offset festival travel expenses.
Endowment fundraising efforts range from soliciting individual donations, pledges, and planned giving to festival based auctions and roasts. Individuals who have been "roasted" are Art Cole, Mort Clark, Twink Lynch, Bea Miller, Enid Holm, Jim Carver, Jean Hoffman, Chuck Chesnut, Shirley Harbin, and Jill
2007 event was a celebrity tribute honoring Terrence Mann and Charlotte d'Ambroise.
Thanks for Keith Martin and generous sponsorship by Music Theatre
International, it raised more money for the Endowment than any previous
At AACT/Fest '01, enough funds had been raised so that, for the first time, each national participating theatre received a grant of $1,000. Despite a downturn in the economy and in interest earned, Endowment Trustees were able to award $500 to each company in 2003 and returned to $1,000 per company in 2005.
In February 2005, the Endowment Fund was slightly under $200,000 and the AACT Board voted to support a fund drive by matching funds raised with surplus operating funds. By year's end, a total of $70,000 was added to the Fund. Endowment Trustees raised the company awards to $1,500 for 2007. Trustees distributed
$3,000 per company at the national festival in 2009--$101,750 has been awarded to date.
The Trustees invite your consideration of a contribution and urge
your participation in its fund raising activities.
Suggestions and questions about the endowment fund are welcome and
may be directed to any member of the Board of Trustees or
Julie Crawford, AACT Executive Director.
As a way of showing support for continued excellence
in community theatre, please consider a contribution to the fund. Contributions
to the endowment fund may be made via our convenient online
form. Checks also may be made out to the AACT Endowment Fund, and sent to the AACT
Office, 1300 Gendy St. Fort Worth, TX