WAM Theatre Raising Funds for Philanthropy Stage Event

Nichole DupontiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. —  It takes money to make money  — and then give it away. Kristen van Ginhoven should know; she’s hoping to raise $1,000 before the clock strikes 3 a.m. on Oct. 2.

As the co-founder of WAM theatre, a philanthropic theater company whose focus is on issues and events pertaining to women and girls, van Ginhoven is keeping her fingers crossed that the money will come through because if it does, she said, the benefits will reach far beyond the stage.

"We have 20 days left and we need that final push," she said. "Our goal is $3,500 and so far we've raised $2,500 through soliciting friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. And those friends have asked their friends. We’re doing really, really well."

Through kickstarter.com, van Ginhoven is hoping to raise the $3,500 that is needed to jumpstart WAM's November production of Sarah Ruhl's contemporary farce "Melancholy Play," which will be performed at the New Stage Performing Arts Center on North Street. If the group does not raise the full amount by Oct. 2, the deal is off.

"When you reach your target goal, that's when you get the funds," she said. "I know we can do it, it's just that it’s getting down to the wire. The more we raise before the show, the more we can give."

WAM's production is not the only thing riding on the generosity of others. All proceeds generated from "Melancholy Play" will go to the Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts, WAM's chosen beneficiary for their fall show.

"The show is about $25,000 and we've flushed it down to $10,000," van Ginhoven said. "After our April show this year we were able to give $1,000 to Women for Women International. We'd like to do more for the Women's Fund. There are four or five women working in that office, and that’s the Women’s Fund right there. We can’t give them $50,000, but we can do our part. WAM is extremely inspired by what they do.”

What “they” do is no small feat according to the fund’s Director of Philanthropy, Marjorie Hutter.

“We’re basically a public foundation that’s looking to improve communities by investing in the lives of the women and young girls in Western Massachusetts,” she said. "We’re not as well known in the Berkshires, that’s why we love these collaborations with cultural and arts events. We’re so thrilled that Kristen got in touch with us.”

Hutter said that since the fund’s inception in 1998, $275,000 in grants has been distributed to more than 28 Berkshire County organizations including the Elizabeth Freeman Center, Girls Inc., the Railroad Street Youth Project and Flying Cloud Institute to name a few.

"There are so many dedicated direct service nonprofits," she said. "We're creating a social fabric and I’m amazed by Kristen and WAM. They have such an incredible enthusiasm and passion for supporting women and girls through the arts."

Hopefully, plans to support the fund will go through without a hitch.

"When you're moved by something, you have to start somewhere," van Ginhoven said. "Everyone is coming together to make it all happen. We just need people to push the big green button."

 

For more information on how to support WAM Theatre visit www.wamtheatre.com.


 

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