Along with the annual work that makes the River Festival a reality, Salina Arts & Humanities announces the creation of a new endowment fund to support the Festival long-term and provide additional support over time to Salina’s arts and cultural programs.
Key to the early success of the newly approved Smoky Hill River Festival Legacy Fund is support from the Salina Arts & Humanities Foundation, an advisory body that provides financial oversight to the Festival and selected SA&H programs. The Foundation provided seed money for the new Festival Legacy Fund from a reserve account built over the last 20 years. Among the gifts to help establish the new fund is support from a longtime Festival volunteer in memory of her husband.
“We wanted to do something special to remember Tony and honor our family’s years of Festival involvement,” says Loreen Buccigrossi. Her husband Tony, a former executive at Philips Lighting Company and Kasa Industrial Controls, passed away from a lymphoma in October 2012. In addition to working as Gates and Ambassadors volunteers for the past 30 years, the Buccigrossis and several other local families started the Festival’s children’s area in 1977.
“After talking some ideas over with staff, we felt that making a commitment to the new Artyopolis area for three years would be a good thing,” says Buccigrossi. Alongside this annual support, Buccigrossi gave a gift during Match Madness 2013 to the SA&H endowment fund at the Greater Salina Community Foundation.
Buccigrossi and her daughters Angela Buccigrossi Schafer and Michelle Buccigrossi Neuschafer continue their Festival volunteer shifts each year to demonstrate the importance of family involvement.
“We have so many great memories of our years together as a family at Festival,” says Angela Buccigrossi Schafer, who lives in Kansas City with her two children and husband Dustin. “Every year, we worked the Journal bridge together on Friday. We’d spend the whole time eating. Dad would give us girls money for food, and we would share whatever we bought back. Then he would give us more money and we would run and find something else.” Schafer and Neuschafer also have memorable anecdotes about their father performing on-stage with Regency at the Salina Bicentennial Center in 1991 and dancing each year to Cruisin’, a long-time Saturday-night headliner.
The Buccigrossi family is committed to keeping Tony’s memory alive as they provide for the Festival’s future. Their 2013 Festival gift helped provide colorful welcome signage and flags at the main Artyopolis entrance, while their 2014 gift will support continued Artyopolis site development.
“We are so grateful for Loreen’s vision for the immediate and long-term growth of the Festival and what it represents,” says SA&H Director Brad Anderson. “With the support of her family and others who may be inspired by what she’s done, the Festival will have a bright future.” Anderson has a goal of helping the River Festival become financially self-sufficient over the next 25 years so that its net proceeds can provide additional funding to share with local cultural agencies.
Salina Arts Commission Foundation Chairman Randall Hardy, a longtime arts supporter, echoes Anderson’s enthusiasm. “The involvement of Loreen and her family is vital and timely,” says Hardy, himself a 33-year Festival volunteer and patron. “The creation of the Smoky Hill River Festival Legacy Fund will give those who love and want to sustain Salina’s vibrant arts culture a way to work together, to ensure the vitality of the Festival and all it represents, for generations to come.”
As plans move forward for River Festival 2014, Anderson says local supporters can play an active role in securing its long-term sustainability. “Generous contributions of time and money from the City and community, along with private support, will allow us to patiently build the Festival Legacy Fund over the decades ahead,” says Anderson. “The Greater Salina Community Foundation has been an excellent partner to help us establish this new fund.”
As an example of how endowments can grow, Anderson says that five percent of the interest from a $10 million endowment would provide sufficient revenue to cover the direct expenses of the Festival for one year. “It would be a wonderful problem for a future director to have,” says Anderson, “to decide where to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars in revenue from the Festival to support the community’s cultural programs. We have a dream that the Festival Legacy Fund will grow enough to help the Festival one day be fully endowed.” Anderson adds that volunteers and in-kind support will continue to be key components of the Festival’s stability.
In addition to the new Festival Legacy Fund, Salina Arts & Humanities and the Smoky Hill Museum also have endowment funds at the Greater Salina Community Foundation to provide for the future of community arts programming and for the Museum.
Information / Story provided by Salina Arts and Humanities