Successful Fundraiser with a Built-in Humanities Program
Angela Thullen | August 04, 2009
With the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, home to ALA headquarters, the Public Programs Office couldn’t resist the opportunity to show off a bit of our hometown cultural offerings. Since Chicago is nationally known for its cutting-edge theater, on the evening of Friday, July 10, a crowd of more than sixty conference attendees joined the Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee and the Public Programs Office for a fundraiser to benefit the Cultural Communities Fund (CCF) at the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre.
In addition to raising funds and awareness for CCF, an important goal for the evening was to showcase the kind of high-quality arts and humanities programs that CCF enables libraries to present to their communities.
“One of the remarkable aspects of the CCF is the sheer number of donations it has received,” said Tim Grimes, Chair of the Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee and Manager of Community Relations and Marketing for the Ann Arbor District Library. “Not just from foundations and corporate sponsors, but from more than 500 individual librarians and libraries who recognize the importance of CCF in nurturing local libraries as centers for culture and community and value the role of librarians as programmers, facilitators, curators, and custodians of culture.”
Among the guests at the cocktail reception were notable supporters of CCF, including representatives from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Ingram Library Services as well as ALA member leaders who have been instrumental in building the endowment to support libraries as they create arts and humanities programs for their libraries.
The evening continued with a high-energy performance of 500 Clown and the Elephant Deal, a mesmerizing physical theater spectacle called a “rough-and-tumble, invigorating interrogation of identity” by Time Out Chicago, that ALA attendees (and the rest of the audience) responded to with a standing ovation.
Following the performance, director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig lead the crowd in a spirited talk back with the cast and composer, expanding on some of the more complex themes of the play, and inviting audience members to share their ideas and perceptions on the piece.
All in all, a fabulous evening, due in large part to the generous sponsorship of Ingram Library Services. Their $10,000 contribution helped make the event a financial success, as well as a hit with attendees.
The concept of a fundraiser with a built-in arts or humanities program suits the mission of CCF very well. How does your library raise funds to support programming? Let us know in the comments.
Angela Thullen is Program Officer/Communications for the ALA Public Programs Office.