The Dynamic Duo – Dorothy Lappin and Simon Benson Offit
We are so fortunate to have the financial and volunteer support of community members who are passionate about the Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Many of our donors have never had a child or grandchild attend Dreyfoos. So, why do they get involved? Because of the enthusiasm and success of the Dreyfoos students and faculty!
Two of the school’s biggest cheerleaders are the Foundation’s own “dynamic duo,” Dorothy L. Lappin and Simon Benson Offit. Mr. Offit has served as the Chairman of the Foundation’s board of directors for ten years and Ms. Lappin, in addition to being a long time board member, has served as Chairman of the School of the Arts Foundation Guild for the past 9 years! For more than a decade they have worked side by side to raise funds to enhance the Dreyfoos art and academic programs.
They are enthusiastic about the school and encourage friends and business acquaintances to support the work of the Foundation through its annual events. Thanks to the hard work of our “dynamic duo” they have raised over $1.8 million dollars through galas and our musical luncheons. Their work as a team is quite impressive but individually they are also very generous with their time and treasure.
As soon as Ms. Lappin learned that the theatre department would be producing Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls, she knew she had to ask her good friend, Jo Sullivan Loesser to visit the school. Ms. Loesser is quite the character and shared with the students her knowledge of the history of musical theater and stories of Broadway.
Mr. Offit recently celebrated a special birthday and in lieu of gifts asked people to donate to the Foundation. The gifts received were designated to start the Simon Benson Offit Musical Theater Scholarship. Additionally, Ms. Lappin established the Dorothy L. Lappin Vocal Scholarship that provides a scholarship to a top female soprano who will be a voice major in college.
In a letter from Simon and Dorothy they voiced their joy in being able to support the school, “Most gratifying of all, is knowing that our talented Dreyfoos students are going out into the world with the most marvelous skills, whether it be academic, communications or the performing arts.”
We applaud our very own “dynamic duo” Simon and Dorothy for their undying support.
New Scholarships offer Opportunities for Dreyfoos Students
The mission of the School of the Arts Foundation is to enhance the art and academic programs at Dreyfoos. In addition to supporting the school’s needs, each year the Foundation is very proud to provide students with scholarship funding. Last year the Foundation disbursed over $90,000 in scholarships for college and summer study programs. Thanks to our generous benefactors we have several new scholarships in development.
In March of 2012 with a $25,000 endowment gift Sylvia Greenberg established The Sylvia Greenberg Performing Arts Scholarship Fund. Mrs. Greenberg has set out to contribute $25,000 a year to the Fund of which the annual earnings will go towards a scholarship for outstanding Dreyfoos students in the performing arts – dance, music and theatre. The first scholarships will be disbursed in the spring of 2014.
Elayne and Marvin Mordes are collectors of contemporary art, patrons and donors to museums and owners/curators of Whitespace the Mordes Collection in West Palm Beach. They have now started the Elayne and Marvin Mordes Scholarship which will offer annual scholarships for seniors in the Visual and Digital Media Departments at Dreyfoos. This year the scholarship will be awarded to a senior in painting.
In honor of former New York City Ballet dancer and world renowned photographer Steven Caras and his ongoing commitment to the arts, Nancy and Jay Parker have established The Steven Caras Dance Scholarship at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Steven's wishes are for the annual funds to be applied towards transportation for advanced dance students who would not otherwise have the means, to attend auditions for important summer intensive dance training programs across the country.
In honor Alumni who have passed away, two new scholarships were established this year. Spurred by the loss of Sasha Kogan (class of 02) her classmates established the Angels and Artists Fund. This fund will allow us to celebrate the joy of our angels who have passed away, while at the same time; help to support the young artists who are trying to find their way in this world. The Fund will support scholarships for Dreyfoos students. In memory of David Serrano (class of 95) the Serrano family established the David Elivio Serrano Memorial Scholarship Fund to benefit Visual and Digital Media students. It's never easy to lose a friend but with these funds their legacy will live on.
The School of the Arts Foundation wants to make higher education an opportunity for each and every student at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Paying for higher education is often a family’s greatest challenge. The Foundation strives to help students meet this challenge through its scholarship program.
Are you interested in starting a scholarship fund at the School of the Arts Foundation? Call the Foundation office at (561) 805-6298 for more information.
The William H. Donner Foundation Donations Top $150,000!
Plywood, 2x4’s, paint , screws, nails, fabrics, thread, zippers, buttons, hats, props, tools, saw blades, drill bits, programs, music, scripts, microphones, advertising, posters….the list goes on and on! The cost of putting on one of the highly regarded Dreyfoos main stage theater productions can be pretty overwhelming to our dedicated faculty and hard working theatre parents! With a recent $30,000 donation by The William H. Donner Foundation a large part of the fundraising burden for this year has been lifted.
“Thanks to this generous grant, sponsored by Nick and Kelly Roosevelt, the pressure of fundraising is lessened so the theatre teachers can focus on teaching and the students can focus on preparation for the March performances of Guys and Dolls. We truly appreciate the Donner Foundation’s generosity.” states Wade Handy, Dean of the Dreyfoos Theatre Department.
Since 2000, the School of the Arts Foundation has been invited by The William H. Donner Foundation to apply for support through their grant program. To date, the total donated by the Donner Foundation is $150,000 in support of the Dreyfoos School of the Arts. The late William H. Donner established The William H. Donner Foundation in 1961. The Trustees and Officers of The William H. Donner Foundation have held steadfast to two key philanthropic principles of the founder--acceptance of clearly defined risks and the judicious use of incentive grants to advance thoughtful, creative projects.
The continued support of the Donner Foundation has touched the lives of so many of our students. We are extremely grateful for their support which has allowed our students to expand their artistic and academic experiences.
The $1,000,000 Gift that Keeps on Giving!
The Leonard and Sophie Davis Endowment Fund was established in 2009 thanks to the generosity of their son Alan Davis and his wife Mary Lou Dauray. Alan contacted the School of the Arts Foundation to ask if he could take a tour and learn more of his late parents’ interest in the Dreyfoos School. It was a wonderful meeting resulting in a $1,000,000 endowment gift. Each December, in perpetuity, 5% of the fund’s value is distributed by the Foundation to provide the art areas at Dreyfoos with funding for supplies and equipment. The December 2012 disbursement was nearly $60,000!
In 1997, Leonard and Sophie Davis contributed $100,000 to the School of the Arts Foundation to name the stage in memory of Clyde Fyfe the late Director of the Palm Beach County Regional Arts Productions. They also supported the establishment of the school’s Clyde Fyfe Music Library and were supporters of many of the schools other events and needs.
Ms. Dauray, is herself a painter and a supporter of the arts and arts education. In December she visited the visual arts department and was invited to observe a few student juries. She was enthralled with the students work and their depth of knowledge.
Over the past two years, funds from the Davis Endowment have provided the Communications Department with cameras, tv production studio upgrades and supplies; the Music Department with music, speakers, computer software and consumable supplies, the Visual Arts and Digital Media departments with MacBooks, software, art supplies and cameras, the Dance Department with costumes, music and equipment and last, but not least, Theater upgrades to the sound and lighting systems in Meyer Hall.
Philanthropists Leonard and Sophie Davis were among Palm Beach’s most prominent supporters of the arts. It’s wonderful to have their son continue their legacy.
Establishing a named endowment fund is a wonderful way to support the ongoing needs of the Dreyfoos School. After a supporter makes an endowment gift, the principal is deposited in an investment account, and only the endowment’s annual income is used for the donor’s chosen purpose. So, if a donor makes a $500,000 endowed gift, a set percentage of the interest building off that amount goes to the chosen department each year. Endowments last forever and touch many lives as the principal grows over time.
Please call the Foundation at (561) 805-6298 for more information about how you can set up a named endowment.
Foundation Supports Ray of Light Program
The Palm Beach Country Club has supported the Ray of Light Fund at the School of the Arts Foundation since 2008. This organization has given $135,000 in grants over the last 5 years to ensure students with financial challenges are able to receive music and dance lessons, attend summer institutes, go to competitions and festivals with their fellow classmates and have the instruments or tools they need to create their art.
Each year approximately 140 students receive assistance from the Ray of Light Fund. Dance students have benefited greatly from the fund. Each year, the dance department offers a trip to New York. This year, students left on December 12 and returned on the 15th. They took a private master class at Juilliard, two classes at Ailey and then had a master class with Sabra Perry one of the choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance. In addition, the group toured Marymount Manhattan College, NYU Tisch, SUNY Purchase and went to Radio City Music Hall. The trip has proven invaluable for dance students wanting to pursue their art. The New York trip has opened doors to summer institutes and college auditions. A number of dance students have received assistance from the Ray of Light Fund to go on this trip. The Ray of Light Program has also offered partial scholarships for Summer Institutes to dance programs throughout the country.
It takes a supportive community to nurture our artist scholars here at Dreyfoos. We are so grateful for this Foundation and the opportunities they have afforded our students.
Sue and James Patterson Underwrite Prism Concert
This year a long time dream of the Dreyfoos Music department will come true. Sue and James Patterson (Yes, the best selling author, James Patterson) are underwriting the annual Holiday Prism Concert at the Kravis Center. It is their hope that other generous people will join them at this wonderful concert and be as inspired as they are about the Dreyfoos School of the Arts.
This story began a few years ago when Sue and James Patterson were invited to the Dreyfoos Music Department’s annual Holiday Prism Concert by Foundation board member Howard Green. They were completely enthralled with the student performances.
Both Sue and James are artists and over time their fascination with the school has widened. First Sue, who has an MFA in art and graphic design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison visited the Dreyfoos Visual Art department with Foundation board member Dana Krumholz. They sat in on a presentation by visiting guest artist, Painting and Drawing Professor Leslie Smith III who teaches at her Alma Mater. Next, James conducted a master class for the Dreyfoos creative writing students. They both came away very impressed with the maturity of the students’ questions and their artistic observations. We are pleased to announce that Sue Patterson was so enthused that she joined the Foundation board in November 2012.
The Patterson’s passion for education and the arts is evident in the recent gift they gave the school by funding programs in support of student achievement. This school year they will support tutoring for reading and math students, ACT/SAT/AP prep materials and classes and 23 laptops to be used in various academic classrooms.
Marcie Gorman-Althof Contributes $10,000
Marcie Gorman-Althof is a local philanthropist with a love for children and theatre. Now, she combines these two passions with the establishment of the Marcie Gorman Theatre Outreach Program at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Thanks to Mrs. Gorman’s generous contribution of $10,000 to the School of the Arts Foundation, 1,000 disadvantaged children and parents from across Palm Beach County will experience the magic of live theatre as they are welcomed to the Dreyfoos Theatre department’s fall production of A Raisin in the Sun.
The Marcie Gorman Theatre Outreach Program aims to make theatre inclusive to underprivileged children. When Wade Handy, Dreyfoos’s Dean of Theatre, approached Mrs. Gorman with the idea to establish a fund that would provide complimentary admission to Dreyfoos Theatre productions, she jumped onboard with no hesitation. Handy said, “I know no greater advocate for access to the theatre than Marcie Gorman, and no better play to introduce this program than A Raisin in the Sun.”
Gorman and Handy worked with Bruce Lewis, chairman of West Palm Beach’s Downtown Development Authority and the Black Chamber of Commerce, to develop a list of targeted Title One schools and community-based organizations that serve disadvantaged children. Schools, such as Lake Worth Middle and Glades Central High, and community organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club and the Urban League, are distributing tickets to the children they serve.
“The response has been tremendous! I believe that this really proves that there is a desire in our community for everyone to have access to the theatre,” said Gorman. She continues, “I am excited to meet these children and their parents at the A Raisin in the Sun performances!”
In addition to her generous financial support of the Dreyfoos Theatre department Mrs. Gorman is a member of the School of the Arts Foundation Board of Directors and is a volunteer and substitute teacher here at Dreyfoos – her favorite ‘part’ of all.
Please Be Seated
Mr. John Hayden is one of the Dreyfoos School of the Arts most ardent cheerleaders. At almost every theatre, dance or musical performance, you can find him sitting in his theatre seat – Center Row A Seat 110. If a play runs for 8 days, he has at least one ticket for each performance. Mr. Hayden also attends the art shows and has an extensive collection of art, signed posters and programs from our students. The last few years, he has even given scholarships to outstanding students in theatre and music. And his seat Center Row A Seat 110 - he bought it!
Mr. Hayden tells the story of how he found Dreyfoos. He was riding back on Tri Rail from the Miami airport and got off in West Palm Beach. He saw a large group of students getting on the train and asked one of the students what this was all about. The student told him about the Dreyfoos School right across the street, he came over to see the school and hasn’t left. The first production he saw was Chorus Line, over 10 years ago.
When asked what Dreyfoos means to him, Mr. Hayden said “The answer is simple, everything. I have been blessed with a remarkable family, full of love. Dreyfoos is family. I love the talent, the honesty of youth, the warm greeting from the students in all of the school’s art areas when I appear at their performances. It’s called that word again: love.”
Mr. Hayden showed his support of the school and Foundation by giving a donation to name a chair in Meyer Hall. Of course, it is Center Row A Seat 110. For a tax-deductible gift of $500, you too can name a seat in Meyer Hall in honor of a student, family member, business, friend or yourself! Email Kris for more information about the Please Be Seated program.
Benenson Scholarship provides $100,000 in Scholarships
Five years ago, one of our board members approached us with setting up an annual scholarship fund in memory of her husband. In 2009, the Edward H. Benenson Scholarship Fund was established by Gladys Benenson and since then $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded to 37 extraordinary students at Dreyfoos. Mrs. Benenson ensures that our most talented students get the opportunity to further their artistic gifts by providing them with a $2500 scholarship for college or summer institutes. These scholarships have afforded our students to attend such wonderful institutions as Juilliard and Joffrey summer dance institutes, NYU Tisch School of Arts, Boston Conservatory and the Walnut Hill Summer Opera program.
“It gives me great pleasure to help these students do something that they might not have had the opportunity to experience. They get the chance to travel to new places and practice their art.” says Mrs. Benenson.
One of those gifted students that have been awarded a Benenson Scholarship is Ericsson Hatfield. Ericsson has used his scholarship for the last two summers to attend Meadowmount School of Music. To continue reading Ericsson’s story click here.