Pittsfield, MA— The Feigenbaum Foundation, widely-known for its respect and love of Pittsfield and the Berkshires, and Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG), a performance arts and education resource in Pittsfield and Stockbridge, today announced a joint effort that will create an education center at The Colonial Theatre and a endowment for sustaining BTG’s creative arts programming during the coming decade.
The Foundation, founded by Armand and the late Donald Feigenbaum, has pledged a ten-year endowment of up to $5 million.
“The endowment will create the Feigenbaum Center for the Performing Arts at The Colonial Theatre and develop educational initiatives there,” Ruth Blodgett, BTG Board President, said.
“The Feigenbaum brothers and their foundation always acknowledged the importance of the performing arts and education to the Pittsfield and Berkshire community,” Emil George, Feigenbaum Foundation President, said. “The Colonial Theatre is a treasure historically and should be sustained for future generations.”
BTG Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire also announced that BTG would undertake a major fundraising effort to build on this endowment and expand the performing arts and educational capabilities of the Group’s five stages and create a challenge campaign.
“This is an extraordinary gift made by two great men who cared about invigorating our community,” Ms. Maguire said. “But, fiscal challenges continue for performing and educational arts organizations in our communities and region. Berkshire Theatre Group does not, now, have any financial luxury to sit still. We must continue to rely on our current donor base and reach out to new supporters of the arts to insure the maximum benefit from the Feigenbaum pledge and challenge.”
The Feigenbaum Foundation will donate $500,000 a year to a endowment for BTG during the next ten years. No income from endowment investments or interest may be used until the fund reaches $5 million.
“It is important for our supporters and community to know that we will not be able to use the endowment until we reach $5 million dollars. This really compels us to engage the wider community to make this pledge a reality for the future of the theatre and our educational mission,” Ms. Blodgett said. “The Feigenbaums wanted to support BTG and they also wanted to challenge and inspire others to join in supporting this community resource.”
Along with this challenge, the Feigenbaum Center at The Colonial Theatre will represent the cornerstone of Berkshire Theatre Group’s work in creative arts programming, said Ms. Maguire. “The Center will serve to deepen and broaden BTG’s existing programs, including school trips to our stages, programs that reinforce classroom curriculum and community productions where children and adults from the area share their individual talent and creativity. The Center will also enable more and more people to enjoy our diverse programming and experience the transformative power of live theatre and the performing arts at our multiple stages.”
Mr. George added that the Feigenbaum Foundation endowment would support the development of an educational center where artists and community will come together to connect learning with creativity. “The Feigenbaum Center,” he said, “will enrich the lives of area school children by developing educational initiatives that provide opportunities for young people to see performances and, most importantly, participate in the creative life of the Berkshire Theatre Group.”
About The Feigenbaum Foundation
The founders, 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.
About Berkshire Theatre Group
The Colonial Theatre, founded in 1903, and Berkshire Theatre Festival, founded in 1928, are two of the oldest cultural organizations in the Berkshires. Having united in November of 2010 under the leadership of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, these two institutions are providing the Berkshires and beyond with the finest in live theatre, music, dance and the visual arts on five stages in Stockbridge, MA and Pittsfield, MA. The Fitzpatrick Main Stage (400 seats), cataloged by the National Register of Historic Places, was originally designed and built by Stanford White as the Stockbridge Casino in 1888. The intimate Unicorn Theatre (122 seats) is a home for emerging artists and new theatrical ideas. The Colonial in Pittsfield (780 seats) re-opened in August of 2006, following a $21 million restoration, and boasts pristine acoustics, classic gilded age architecture and state-of-the-art technical systems. BTG also performs at the outdoor Neil Ellenoff stage, located on the grounds of BTF in Stockbridge, and at The Garage, a music venue located in the lobby of The Colonial. BTG serves over 100,000 patrons per year and reaches over 17,000 students through its educational and outreach programs. For more information on BTG call (413) 448-8084. To purchase tickets, call (413) 997-4444 or go online to www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.