Donations High At LDI

During the second-half of 2006, The ESTA Foundation made quite a dent in its campaign for Behind the Scenes, raising more than $55,000 at LDI in Las Vegas alone. Cheryl and John Cox, owners of Sacramento Theatrical Lighting, were significant donors. They were introduced to Behind the Scenes by close friends and colleagues George and Vivian Gill of Stage Equipment. “When we met up at LDI, George said, ‘You need to make a donation to this,’ and then I found out that the Altman family had put up the seed money — my family goes back 50 years with Altman; my dad and Charlie Altman started doing business in 1957. Our philosophy is that the business has been good to us, and we should give something back.”

Other members of the industry supported the charity through raffle tickets, a silent auction, and contributions. A wide range of items were offered at the silent auction sponsored by LDI and Live Design, ranging from an original light plot from this year's MTV Music Video Awards signed by Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Allen Branton, a copy of Foundation Board member Robert Bell's book Let There Be Light signed by all the interviewees, Cirque du Soleil and Disney packages, and equipment and services donated by LDI exhibitors. The auction closed and winning bids were announced during the festive Viva Las Vegas LDI Awards Ceremony and Behind the Scenes Benefit, attended by several hundreds of supporters.

The main raffle for a 2007 Pacific Blue Harley-Davidson Sportster XL 883 motorcycle was a hugely popular item, and the lucky winner was Bob Medve of Queensbury, NY. “I really looked at buying the ticket as a donation,” says Medve. “I've never won anything, and I never really thought I would win. I was ecstatic. I have been freelance in the past, and I know what it's like to be without insurance. I was lucky because the injury I had was covered by worker's comp, but I was out of work, and nobody helped me. I will continue to support Behind the Scenes and buy raffle tickets. That's how I will continue to donate.” Medve and his family even posed on the Harley for their annual Christmas photo this year.

Special support of The ESTA Foundation's presence at LDI was provided by LDI and Live Design, Rose Brand, PRG, Kim Craigie, and Bill Sapsis.

What You Can Do

While The ESTA Foundation is, of course, pleased to report all of the support and funds raised, it is still not enough to approve every grant application, which means applicants in our industry — technicians, designers, riggers, programmers — are turned away. If you are interested in making a donation, contact any member of the Behind the Scenes committee. In fact, there are also a few new committee members, so contact whomever you know best:

Rick Rudolph (chair), Stage Equipment & Lighting

Sarah Spencer Danke, ETC

Kathy Eddy, Eddy Marketing

Jack Gallagher, Strong Entertainment Lighting

Michelle Nasby, ECCS

Tobin Neis, Barbizon

Lori Rubinstein, The ESTA Foundation

Marian Sandberg, Live Design

Bill Sapsis, Sapsis Rigging

If you'd like to donate a raffle or auction item for an upcoming event, contact Lori Rubinstein at 212-244-1421 or via e-mail at info@estafoundation.org.

New Matching Grant Program Challenges The Industry

As a push to help make 2007 a landmark year for Behind the Scenes, The ESTA Foundation is creating a new partnership with the industry, the Behind the Scenes Matching Grant Program. Whether you decide to sponsor one of the already established matching grant slots or create a new matching grant, every dollar Behind the Scenes raises will double thanks to your partnership. And if one of the openings does not fit your budget, Behind the Scenes will customize the right Matching Grant Opportunity with you. And if a matching grant is not an option, donations and corporate-giving campaigns are always welcome.

Where You Can Find Behind The Scenes

If you're thinking of supporting the cause, you can look for Behind the Scenes at upcoming events in 2007, so mark your calendars and checkbooks:

March 15-17, Phoenix, AZ:
The Behind the Scenes/Long Reach Long Rider Raffle at USITT

May 15, New York, NY:
The Live Design Honors Silent Auction at NYU's Kimmel Center

June 10, New York, NY:
The Behind the Scenes Tony Awards Party

July 29-August 6:
The Long Reach Long Riders 2007 Ride

November 16-18, Orlando, FL:
The Behind the Scenes Raffle at LDI 2007

Behind the Scenes is an initiative of The ESTA Foundation to provide industry members with financial support when they are seriously ill or injured. For more information about Behind the Scenes, to donate, or to apply for a grant, visit www.estafoundation.org/bts.htm.