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Blumenthal Arts
Winter 2024
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We Can’t Do it Without You
Your support allows Blumenthal to be much more than a venue for Broadway shows
If you’ve been to a big, razzle-dazzle-’em Broadway musical at Blumenthal Arts’ Belk Theater, you were likely entertained, inspired and possibly awed. Few people in the audience are thinking at, say, the final duel scene in Hamilton: I wonder how I can help Blumenthal?
It’s easy to forget, when you’re swept up in Sondheim or Sting (whose music inspired Message in a Bottle, coming to the Knight Theater in April), that Blumenthal is a not-for-profit that relies on charitable donations to serve its constituents.
In some ways, Blumenthal is a victim of its own success. The team manages four uptown theaters and produces more than 1,000 shows every year, including 24 weeks of Broadway shows.
Blumenthal relies on donors just like you to work toward its goal of serving the entire community.
“We do a good job of ‘paying our own way,’ so to speak,” said Tom Gabbard, Blumenthal’s president and CEO. “But there are many things important to the community that we couldn’t fund without contributions. We’re well-known for Broadway shows, but the hugely impactful community programming we provide is mostly under the radar.”
Blumenthal board of trustees chair John Giannuzzi knows just how much the community relies on Blumenthal, and that donations make those programs possible. “Because of our generous members, we offer transformative programs like the Charlotte International Arts Festival, which celebrates the rich diversity of our community,” he said.
Emma Corrigan with Project Search at Belk Theater.
Members of Project Search attend a show at Belk Theater.
As for the international arts festival, its inaugural year in 2022 was partially funded by federal COVID relief funds, said Blumenthal Vice President of Development Samantha Mills Kowert. Those one-time federal dollars got the festival up and running. Donations keep it going.
Giannuzzi also cited Blumenthal’s “education programs that support classroom curricula and inspire our young people to pursue their artistic dreams” and Blumenthal’s investments “in … our local artists and creative communities” as programs requiring donor support.
“High-impact programs like these,” he added, “are only possible thanks to our generous donors.”

‘Awed’ by the arts
“People who attend the big, splashy Broadway Lights shows may not realize all we do in and for the community,” Kowert said. She’ll often tell them about the educational programs in Title I schools. Or internships for college students.

“When schoolkids walk into the Belk,” she added, “they act as if they’re walking into a cathedral. They are awed by it. We don’t charge schools anything to come when they are here for a workshop or program, and we subsidize the cost of tickets for school show performances. We also provide heavily discounted, sometimes complimentary, tickets to veterans and first responders. Ticket sales alone couldn’t support those programs.”
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Samantha Kowert
Bree Stallings, Blumenthal’s director of artistic experiences, said it doesn’t always register with art lovers that Blumenthal is a 501(c)(3). “I have to remind people sometimes that we’re a not-for-profit,” she said.
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Members of For the Struggle attend Ain't Too Proud at Belk Theater.
Because of support from donors and foundations – including the North Carolina Arts Council and the Infusion Fund – Blumenthal can share the magic of live theater and ensure the arts remain accessible through programs like Arts for All access grants.
Arts for All subsidizes the cost of tickets or program participation for individuals, families and school and community groups, and can include transportation assistance when needed.
The program helps ensure that everyone – no matter their age, geography or income – has arts access.
Students participate in the Gazillion Bubble Show during the Charlotte International Arts Festival. They were able to attend because of donor support.
Some veterans receive Vet Tix for Blumenthal shows.
What can one person do?
There are many ways to support Blumenthal’s community programs. Kowert said, “There’s something for everyone – not just those with ‘deep pockets.’ Every gift makes a difference.”
Blumenthal makes giving easy:
  • Make a tax-deductible donation quickly and securely by going to the “Support Us” tab on Blumenthal’s website, And if you work for a company that provides matching gifts, you can double your contribution.
  • Consider making a gift when you buy a ticket to a Blumenthal event on
  • Become a member of Blumenthal Arts simply by visiting A general membership starts at $100 a year. The most basic tier ($100-$250) gets you early access to buy tickets, recognition in the annual Honor Roll of Donors and a one-year subscription to Spark magazine. A donation of $750 to $999 comes with even more perks, including two complimentary tickets to a select performance.
  • Producers Circle members give between $1,000 and $25,000-plus annually. The benefits – an invitation to a Broadway opening night cast party, a behind-the-scenes tour for a Broadway show, invitations to exclusive Producers Circle events – multiply as you move up each tier.
  • Kowert often works with donors interested in planned giving, which encompasses everything from gifts of stock to creating or updating a will to include Blumenthal Arts. Also popular are donor-advised funds, a convenient and tax-efficient charitable giving vehicle that allows you broad latitude in how you give – cash, stock, property or business interests.
  • Blumenthal’s Legacy Society honors supporters who’ve designated Blumenthal as a beneficiary in their wills or other planned gifts. These generous donors are offered frequent opportunities to connect with Blumenthal, including special behind-the-scenes events and gatherings, lifelong Producers Circle membership and much more.
Blumenthal Business Leaders for the Arts has many rewards for companies of all sizes.
Business, corporate and Foundation support
Kowert and her team encourage businesses of all sizes to join Blumenthal Business Leaders for the Arts. “This group isn’t just for big corporations,” Kowert said. “We want a diverse mix of businesses of all sizes and scope involved.”
Membership has benefits beyond the good feeling you get from supporting a cause you care about.
Members get to attend productions, exclusive events and behind-the-scenes tours. They can see their company logo in the playbill and enjoy the Founders Room before the show and during intermission. They also benefit from the business connections and friendships they make in the group.
Businesses can also help by donating in-kind support. “Much of the food we serve at cast parties and donor receptions has been donated,” Gabbard said. “And in exchange, we’ll help that business with marketing to our ticket buyers.”

There’s room for you
“We’re good business people,” Gabbard said of his team. “We do a good job covering a lot of our expenses with revenue, but we rely on charitable support – which constitutes about 7 percent to 8 percent of our operating budget, or in the neighborhood of $3.5 million – for all we do in the community.”
Giannuzzi, the board chair and a senior partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP, gives to Blumenthal personally and through his workplace. “My wife, Kathy, and I have been patrons and contributors for many years, and my firm has been a proud corporate partner for more than two decades,” he said.
He invites everyone to join him in keeping these programs alive: “We’ve seen firsthand the tremendous impact of Blumenthal’s programming in the Charlotte region and hope others will join us and become members this year.” ◼
Learn more about how you can support arts programming by contacting 704.379.1355 or
Some students enter Knight Theater to attend a performance that is part of the Charlotte International Arts Festival, thanks to donor support.
by Page Leggett