Long Wharf Theatre: Art, Community & Giving

Long Wharf Theatre: Art, Community & Giving

Long Wharf Theatre's production of Hughie starring Brian Dennehy, a childhood resident of Derby.

By the time the Board of Long Wharf Theatre (LWT) celebrated its 20th birthday in 1985, it had established a national reputation and was an important force in the regional theater movement. But the Theatre needed stronger financial footing. Leaders concluded an endowment was necessary to create predictable income each year and to prove that they were here for the long term. They also realized they needed the credibility and expertise of The Community Foundation to successfully appeal to its supporters for a permanent endowment, both through outright and deferred gifts. 

The result was the Campaign for the Future Fund which raised $1.2 million and started a tradition for The Community Foundation of working with large and small organizations to build endowments.

By its 46th season, Long Wharf Theatre had five funds designated for it at The Community Foundation with a combined value close to $10 million, including a $3 million fund established in 2010. And although plans for a downtown theater are on hold, LWT continues to grow, producing an annual season of six plays on its two stages, offering new ventures, and providing a comprehensive arts education program.

The Community Foundation has approximately 100 funds established in partnership with nonprofit organizations to launch an endowed giving program. Of the millions in grants awarded, The Foundation distributed $6 million to designated organizations in 2011, such as Long Wharf Theatre, by gifts or bequests.

Organization endowments are right for more than Long Wharf Theatre. They're great for organizations that:

  • Are interested in creating permanent support for their organization
  • Have a healthy operating budget with resources in reserve
  • Have a broad base of gift support
  • Are stable and have a plan for long-term sustainability
  • Have donors that share the vision for the importance of endowment and want to support the organization in perpetuity.


70 Audubon Street
New Haven, CT 06510



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