Leir Foundation to sponsor Playhouse’s Arts for Everyone program

Industrialists and philanthropists Henry J. and Erna D. Leir are the founders of the Leir Foundation, which supports the advancement of high-quality educational and cultural institutions and, among other things, services for children and the disadvantaged, and programs that enhance multicultural understanding and diversity.

The Leir Foundation has become the title sponsor of the Ridgefield Playhouse’s Arts for Everyone outreach program.  

This program makes the arts accessible to families and children from low-income areas as well as Title 1 schools by providing free tickets to shows, including Arts in Education shows, as well as busing if necessary.  

Together, Henry and Erna Leir devoted their time and efforts to philanthropy, in order to enhance world prosperity and individual accomplishment.

“We felt this was a perfect fit,” saie Allison Stockel, executive director of the Ridgefield Playhouse. “The Arts for Everyone Outreach Program helps make the performing arts available to economically disadvantaged residents of Fairfield County, and beyond, who cannot afford the cost of admission, even at reduced rates. And we are so grateful to the Leir Foundation and Margot Gibis, president of the Leir Foundation, for allowing us to continue to make our Arts for Everyone outreach program a success.”  

In addition to working with families and schools directly, the Leir Foundation Arts for Everyone program also works with more than 40 other non-profit organizations, including A Better Chance, Ability Beyond, Escape to The Arts, Danbury Youth Services, Family and Children’s Aid, Danbury Grassroots Academy, Green Chimneys, Little Wonders, Mental Health Associates of CT, the Out and About Club, Ridgefield Social Services and many more. The program donates more than $90,000 in tickets to the organizations listed above.  

The Arts for Everyone Outreach Program provided $27,000 in free tickets and transportation for Title 1 schools to attend Arts in Education programs at the Playhouse this past season.

“While many schools today are cutting back on or eliminating the arts from their curriculum, over the past 15 years the Ridgefield Playhouse has been working with educators, students and parents to bring live, curriculum-rich theatrical productions to our stage every year,” said Stockel. “We have grown the Arts in Education programming from four shows annually in our first season to now more than twelve in our 2018/2019 season. Whether it is literature, history, science or cultural content, our shows complement what is being taught in the classroom and bring these wonderful topics to life.”

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