John Howell is a member of Dallas Theater Center’s Board of Trustees and a long-time Benefactor. Recently John took a moment to talk with DTC about his support and his participation in North Texas Giving Day.
How long have you been attending shows at DTC?
Although I had attended occasional shows previously, I have been regularly attending DTC shows since 1996.
You participate annually in North Texas Giving Day. Could you tell us a little more about that?
Every year since 2009, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) has designated a day (September 19th this year) as North Texas Giving Day. On that day, prospective donors are encouraged to access DonorBridgeTX.org, where they can review profiles of North Texas charitable organizations pre-screened by CFT and make contributions to organizations selected by the donors, with those contributions being supplemented by “bonus funds” provided by CFT and other supporters of North Texas Giving Day. When Brent Christopher, the President and CEO of CFT and a personal friend of mine, first announced in 2009 that CFT, with the support of the Dallas Foundation, the Center for Nonprofit Management, and others, was launching DonorBridge and North Texas Giving Day, I thought that was a great way to enable and encourage people to find out about and support worthwhile organizations in North Texas. So my wife, Angela, and I have participated in North Texas Giving Day every year, making donations through DonorBridge for DTC and other participating organizations with the dual goal of supporting North Texas Giving Day as a very laudable event and also anticipating that our contributions to our designated recipients will be enhanced by the “bonus funds” provided by CFT and others.
Serving on DTC’s Board of Trustees, you know first hand about the impact of some of DTC’s programs. Are there any that have a special place in your heart?
DTC is best known for producing plays that stimulate new ways of thinking and living, as described in our Mission. However, I have long been a fan of Project Discovery, DTC’s signature education program that every year allows thousands of students who otherwise lack the means to attend theater to see professionally produced plays at no cost to the students or their schools. My favorite Project Discovery story occurred several years ago when two teenagers from an underprivileged area in South Dallas were caught trying to sneak into a DTC performance of Hamlet. When questioned, they explained that they had heard about the play from one of their friends who had attended a performance as part of Project Discovery and were so interested that they had hitch-hiked from South Dallas to try to see the play — Hamlet — for themselves!
What do you think is DTC’s area of greatest need for financial support?
As DTC winds down its Advancement Campaign, we need individual donors and businesses to commit to our ambitious artistic vision. DTC is essential to the cultural life of Dallas as we present new plays and musicals, educate young people across north Texas, and foster theater artists at all levels — from students at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts to Tony-winning designers and directors.