For Immediate Release

Media Contact: 
Laurie Colton                                              
Director of Marketing and Public Relations 
941-484-4033 ext. 221
Venice Theatre held annual dinner for Presidents Club members
Eric Watters, new Director of Development, was Master of Ceremonies
VENICE, FL, MAY 11, 2016 -      Venice Theatre honored members of its Presidents Club at its annual Presidents Dinner on Thursday March 31, 2016 at the Venice Yacht Club. 160 attendees enjoyed cocktails, dinner, fellowship and presentations from the theatre's leadership.

The Presidents Club is composed of donors who contribute $500 or more annually to the theatre. Presidents Club benefits include a dmission to the Presidents Clubroom on selected evenings throughout the MainStage season; c omplimentary valet parking; a specially crafted membership pin; and invitations to special events such as the annual dinner.

Laura   Kopple, Venice Theatre's current Board President, welcomed the crowd. After a festive cocktail hour and a full course meal, Dr. Eric Watters spoke to the group. Watters has worked with the theatre since 2002, first as a volunteer performer, next as a board member and for the past several years as Director of Planned  Giving. He has now taken on the role of Director of  Development as his predecessor Paul Borgmann moves into semi-retirement. Watters thanked Borgmann for his leadership and vision. The room responded by giving Borgmann a standing ovation. 

Venice Theatre Executive/Artistic Director Murray Chase says, "When Paul Borgmann started working at Venice Theatre in 2003, a nnual personal gifting was at $28,000 per year. Total annual contributed income was about $110,000. Today personal gifting is nearing $375,000 per year, with total contributed income exceeding $730,000 annually.  That does not include special gifts, such as estate bequests. Paul has made a huge impact on our organization and Eric is the perfect person to continue this growth."

Chase went on to give a state of the theatre address, updating the Presidents Club members about current capital needs, future goals, and plans for capacity enhancement. After hearing Chase talk about the needs of the theatre, including capital repairs such as a new roof and updated air conditioning units, Watters encouraged the Presidents Club members to move up to the Co-Producer level of $2,500. The crowd was in a generous mood and two dozen donors have already committed to increase their gifts to the theatre this year. 

Watters explains, "While Venice Theatre is extremely successful, its future continues to depend on contributed income. The price of a ticket is only part of the cost of sustaining the organization. If we want to keep ticket prices affordable, at least 25% of revenue must come from donations in order to balance the budget. I encourage all members of our community to give generously to their local theatre." For those interested in becoming Presidents Club members, co-producers, sponsors, or learning more about including the theatre in their estate plans, Watters can be reached at 941-484-4033, ext.301.
    About Venice Theatre                                                  
    Venice Theatre ’s mission is making a dramatic impact on all stages of life. The second-largest out of 10,000 community theatres in the United States, its MainStage offers seating for 432 patrons and features musicals, plays, concerts and special events.  Its Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre seats 90 patrons and is home to the theatre’s “Generations”, Stage II and Cabaret Series. In addition to providing entertainment to the community, Venice Theatre has a wide range of education and outreach programs for children and adults. Venice Theatre is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization.