National Corporate Theatre Fund Announces 'Impact Creativity' Campaign To Benefit Theatre Education With $200,000 Launch

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National Corporate Theatre Fund Announces 'Impact Creativity' Campaign To Benefit Theatre Education With $200,000 Launch

Monday night, at the National Corporate Theatre Fund's (NCTF) 2012 Annual Chairman's Awards Gala at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, NCTF launched its "Impact Creativity" campaign – a $5 million fundraising effort to support theatre education programs in 19 American cities impacting more than 500,000 youth – with a launch gift of $200,000 from Ernst & Young LLP and its partners and principals. Chairman and CEO of the global Ernst & Young organization James S. Turley was an honoree, along with Harry Connick, Jr., the Cleveland Play House and the Cleveland Clinic. The gala itself, which was emceed by David Allen Grier, brought in $473,000 for Impact Creativity and the Fund for New American Theatre, which helps fund theatres across the NCTF national network.

"Impact Creativity was launched in response to the alarming decline in funding for arts education and seeks to motivate corporations, foundations and individuals to help shape a more intelligent, diverse, confident and creative 21st century workforce by investing in arts and theatre education as essential learning," said Bruce Whitacre, Executive Director of NCTF. "We know the powerful impact of theatre education on our youth which is why we have decided to step up to the plate and try to narrow the funding gap. NCTF is very grateful to Jim Turley and to Ernst & Young LLP for its significant launch gift, the people of Ernst & Young for sharing their experiences with the arts and to all the honorees, presenters and attendees at the Chairman's Gala for being there for the launch of Impact Creativity."
According to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities' 2011 report, "Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America's Future Through Creative Schools," arts education funding is declining nationwide, with several minority communities seeing the sharpest drop-offs in funding, as much as a 40% reduction in services. The report shows that arts education is especially effective in breaking through to disadvantaged youth who may have been turned off by "inside the box" teaching and the core subjects. The report also reveals that CEOs are expressing strong concern about the creativity and viability of the American workforce.

"Tomorrow's workforce must act confidently, communicate effectively and think creatively – all qualities that can be enhanced through arts and theatre education," said Jim Turley, who has been the Chairman of NCTF for the past six years. "Ernst & Young's support of Impact Creativity advances our philanthropic commitment to education by getting underprivileged youth involved in theatre. We hope our participation sparks more interest in the value theatre education brings to children, corporations and communities, while inspiring others to contribute to Impact Creativity and NCTF."

Broadway producer Margo Lion, Co-Chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities said, "It is critically important that corporate America step forward to support theatre arts education, now only available in about three percent of our nation's schools. The opportunity to participate in these classes provides a powerful tool in building an engaged and dynamic learning environment, an environment that encourages our young people to stay in school and move on to college. Efforts by NCTF to shine a spotlight on these programs and demonstrate the powerful link between arts education and our nation's future are badly needed."

HAl Holbrook, Honorary Chair of the National Corporate Theatre Fund, lamented cuts in arts and theatre education and underscored the importance of "Impact Creativity," remarking, "My wife, Dixie Carter, and I loved watching football games. Our hero was Peyton Manning. I wonder how many members of the Congress in Washington, "that grand old Benevolent National Asylum for the Helpless" as Mark Twain described it, have any idea that when they are cutting away support for arts education in America they are denying millions of young people who cannot play football the same emotional benefits that an athlete gets on the playing field: working through aggressions and pain and disappointments and loneliness on a stage, in a performance, acting or dancing or singing, where hope can bloom in a young person's heart and the desire to succeed can become as strong as wanting to score a touchdown. I was one of them."

Impact Creativity will be engaging many artists as advocates for the cause. Tony Award winning actress Phylicia Rashad said, "We cannot thrive culturally or economically without that which brings us together, opens our hearts and minds and awakens our children to the infinite possibilities of their own skills and talents. Studies show the endless benefits of exposure to theater. Now NCTF, through its Impact Creativity campaign, is showing us what we can do about it. Impact Creativity is taking the lead in rallying our nation's companies, foundations, and theater donors to support one of our great resources: the arts education programs that these outstanding theaters provide our children across the country. Bravo!"

Also announced at the Chairman's Awards Gala was an exciting new media partnership between NCTF and the nation's leading taxi technology company Creative Mobile Technologies ("CMT"). CMT will roll out a series of PSAs that feature video content provided by NCTF theatres that will be showing on 10,000 taxicab screens in cities across the United States. Millions of taxi passengers in New York, Connecticut, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and other media markets will be enlightened and inspired by these visual expressions.

The media partnership between NCTF and CMT was launched when WABC-TV reporter, Sade Baderinwa, announced the winner of the NCTF video competition. Baderinwa presented Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT with a $10,000 grand prize, which was co-sponsored by CMT, WABC-TV and ABC Regional Sports and Entertainment Sales. The Long Wharf Theatre video was selected by a panel of judges including philanthropist and producer Cheryl Henson, playwright David Henry Hwang, and Julie Woffington, Executive Director of the Educational Theatre Association of America. All submissions are available to view at www.nctf.org.

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