We Can't Do It Without You: Your Support Allows Blumenthal To Be Much More Than A Venue For Broadway Shows

Jan 2, 2024 / Blog

If you’ve been to a big, razzle-dazzle-’em Broadway musical at Blumenthal Performing 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 organization that relies on charitable donations to serve its constituents.


In some ways, the Blumenthal is a victim of its own success. The team manages four uptown theaters and produces more than 1,000 shows every year, including more than 18 weeks of Broadway shows.

But the truth is: The Blumenthal relies on donors just like you to work towards 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.”


(Students attend a performance of The Gazzillion Bubble Show during the 2nd Annual Charlotte International Arts Festival thanks to Blumenthal's generous supporters.)

Blumenthal board 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 that celebrates the rich diversity of our community,” he said.

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.”


(Students participate in Blumenthal L.E.A.P. (Literary Engagement through the Arts Program) Day in the spring of 2023, a program funded through generous donations to Blumenthal Performing Arts)

‘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 high school students.

“When schoolkids walk into the Belk,” she added, “they act as if they’re walking into a cathedral. They are awed by it. And we don’t charge schools anything to come. We also provide heavily discounted, sometimes complimentary, tickets to veterans and first responders. Ticket sales alone couldn’t support those programs.”


(Veterans attending a performace of 1776 at Belk Theater thanks to Blumenthal providing tickets through VetTix.)

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 organization,” she said.

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 through the Arts for All initiatives.

Arts for All includes transportation assistance and ticket scholarships for groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Freedom Schools partnership, which began in 2013 when Blumenthal hosted nearly 1,000 Freedom School students for The Lion King.

The program helps ensure that everyone – no matter their age, geography or income – has arts access.

Malevo School Show.jpg

(School groups enjoying a performance and post-show Q&A with the cast of Malevo at Belk Theater, made possible through donations to Blumenthal's Arts for All program)

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.”  

And Blumenthal makes giving easy: 

  • Make a tax-deductible donation quickly and securely by going to the “Support Us” tab on Blumenthal’s website, blumenthalarts.org. And if you work for a matching-gift company, you can double your gift.
  • When you buy a ticket to a Blumenthal event on Carolinatix.org, you’ll be prompted to donate. The pop-up text box reminds you what your gift supports: “Blumenthal’s school shows invite K-12 students to experience professional theater at a reduced cost, many for the first time, and builds connections between live performing arts and classroom curriculum. $20 covers the cost of a field trip for a student.”
  • Become a member of Blumenthal Performing Arts simply by visiting blumenthalarts.org/membership. 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. And 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 Performing 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 the Blumenthal as a beneficiary in their wills or other planned gifts. These generous donors are offered frequent opportunities to connect with the Blumenthal, including special behind-the-scenes events and gatherings, lifelong Producers Circle membership and much more.

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 in Uptown towers,” Kowert said. “We want a diversity of businesses involved.”


(Members of Blumenthal's Business Leaders for the Arts program attend a special networking luncheon on stage at Booth Playhouse.)

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 at most PNC Broadway Lights performances. They also benefit from the business connections and friendships they make in the group. 


(Members enjoying a private behind-the-scenes tour of Belk Theater)

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 Carolinas managing partner for Deloitte, 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.”

To make a gift today, CLICK HERE! 

 Learn more about how you can support arts programming by contacting 704.379.1353 or Development@BlumenthalArts.org.