In June of 2014, thanks to two of Berkshire County’s most generous benefactors, Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) received a $5 million gift aimed at jump-starting the newly merged organization’s journey toward long-term financial stability.
BTG, which now includes The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield and the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, received the multi-year gift from the Feigenbaum Foundation—an organization founded by the late brothers Armand and Donald Feigenbaum of Pittsfield.
Their Foundation, founded in 1988, has donated millions to Berkshire County-based institutions. Foundation President Emil George said the gift—which is spread out over more than a decade—is not restricted to a specific purpose but rather will expand the organization’s work in creative arts programming, including school trips to the BTG’s multiple performing arts spaces, programs that reinforce classroom curriculum, as well as community productions that allow adults and children in the Berkshires to share their talent and creativity.
The Colonial Theatre officially merged with the 86-year-old Berkshire Theatre Festival in 2010. Prior to the merger, the venerable Colonial—originally built in 1903 and reopened in 2006 following a $21.6 million renovation—had experienced consecutive years of net income losses. The Feigenbaum gift was designed to lay a firm foundation for the long-term viability of the merged organization.
“The Colonial is one of the most important institutions in Pittsfield,” George said. “It really changed the game at a time when Pittsfield was reeling from the loss of its single largest employer. The brothers always acknowledged the importance of the performing arts and education to Pittsfield and the Berkshire community. The Colonial Theatre is a treasure historically and should be sustained for future generations.”
About the Feigenbaum Foundation
Founding brothers Armand and Donald Feigenbaum had a deep respect and love for the Berkshires. In keeping with that idea, organizations located in or providing primary benefits to the Berkshires are the Foundation’s preferred grant recipients. The purpose of the Feigenbaum Foundation is to focus its financial assistance primarily on pursuits related to, effecting or associated with education in technology, engineering and management; academic institutions and disciplines; medical institutions and disciplines; cultural programs and projects; community-based tax-exempt organizations in the Berkshire County area; established religious institutions, programs and projects.
Dr. Armand V. Feigenbaum, the developer of “Total Quality Control” concept, was President and CEO of General Systems Company, which he founded in 1968. In 2008, Dr. Feigenbaum was presented with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President George W. Bush at a ceremony at the East Wing of the White House. The National Medal is the highest honor for technological achievement bestowed on America’s leading innovators. He is considered one of the World’s “Gurus of Quality.” 1988 in Paris, Dr. Feigenbaum was awarded the Medaille G. Borel by France, the first American to be so honored, in recognition of his international leadership on quality control. He was also a major contributor to The Colonial Theatre Restoration in Pittsfield.
Dr. Donald S. Feigenbaum was Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the General Systems Company, which he founded with his brother, Dr. Armand V. Feigenbaum.
Donald co-authored, with his brother, Armand, the book, The Power of Management Capital, which set a new direction for management in the twenty-first century not only in industry, but in health care, education, public administration and technology. He served on the Board of Trustees of both The Colonial Theatre Association and the Berkshire Theatre Festival.