WARWICK BEACON: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published April 1, 2021
To the Editor,
I am an unabashed lover of all things Rhode Island. The size, our quirkiness, living within miles (and sometimes blocks) of family, being in the city one moment and by the ocean the next, the vibrant arts culture that exists in such a small area, the feeling that you can’t ever really leave, and so much more.
But perhaps the reason I love Rhode Island most is for the sense of community it breeds. Rhode Islanders are a fierce bunch, and we take care of each other. That’s why, when the pandemic hit last March, I knew in my gut that we would make it through.
Just four months into my new position as Managing Director of The Gamm Theatre, I found myself with a staff I was still getting to know, a city I wasn’t familiar with, and an industry (arts & culture) that was professionally new to me. The road ahead was uncharted territory. But two weeks after the shutdown, 401Gives, a statewide day of giving powered by United Way of Rhode Island, was an infusion of hope and a testament to the true spirit of Rhode Island.
Speaking for The Gamm, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of our community, raising more than $20,000 to support our theatre. For 24 hours, we were amazed and heartened to see not only how generous people were to us, but to watch what was happening all across the state. By the end of the day, $1.3 million was raised to support hundreds of nonprofits.
I’ve been fortunate to have spent my entire career working for nonprofits in whose missions I deeply believe. Moreover, I have been able to connect people to those missions through the act of philanthropy. There’s magic in building relationships, connecting people with the causes they are passionate about, and helping them make a difference through charitable gifts.
It’s April 1st, and we find ourselves at 401Gives once more. When it was being planned last year, we could not have known how our lives would be changed by the time it launched. Nor would we have guessed that the following April we would still be in the midst of the pandemic, with industries like The Gamm’s paralyzed, and others stressed to the point of breaking. The past year has brought fear, challenge, and more grief and disconnectedness than we ever could have imagined. But there have also been moments of progress and optimism as we get closer and closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Please consider making a gift to your favorite nonprofit(s) today. The collective spirit of giving that was so inspiring last year is needed just as much this year, especially for those who are not yet back to business. Whether it’s The Gamm Theatre, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick, House of Hope, Mentor RI, Thrive Behavioral Health, Warwick Center for the Arts, or any other of the worthy organizations in Warwick and across Rhode Island, your gift will have a tremendous impact.
After all, that’s what we do in Rhode Island – we take care of each other.
Managing Director of The Gamm Theatre, and President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Rhode Island Chapter