Dr. Phillips center receives another big gift

Deborah Sciarrino

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts announced another million-dollar gift today — this one from Winter Park residents Michael and Deborah Sciarrino.

This gift is notable because it comes from somebody who isn’t already on the arts center’s board — and that’s meaningful because it indicates that the arts-center folks are actually getting their message out, something that hasn’t seemed to be happening in recent months.

Here’s the official word on the gift:

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has received another major gift.  Winter Park residents Michael and Deborah Sciarrino have pledged $1 million toward the project’s endowment.

The gift represents the Sciarrinos’ support for the arts and, specifically, the community programming the mission-driven Center will offer.

According to Dr. Phillips Center Board Chairman Jim Pugh, “This project has received enormous support.  We thank the Sciarrinos for their belief in this project and their commitment to the many ways it will engage the Central Florida community.”

“The outpouring of support this year alone is an amazing testament to the faith our community has in this project,” added Dr. Phillips Center President Kathy Ramsberger.  “We are so grateful to the Sciarrinos for investing in our future so generously.”

In addition to her work with the Mennello Museum, Deborah is a passionate board member of Central Florida’s Foundation for Success, which provides personal development, financial support, mentorship and friendship for disadvantaged young women pursuing a college education.  She considers her support for the Dr. Phillips Center to be investments in the future of young women like those she supports through Foundation for Success, because of the Center’s mission-driven focus on community programming.

“I think it is important for young people like the women I work with to be able to experience the arts and to be a part of the type of community outreach the Center will facilitate,”  said Deborah Sciarrino. “We need institutions to support causes like this and I am confident the Dr. Phillips Center will play an integral role in helping build our community and transforming young lives through its community outreach.”

“Performing arts centers nationwide enhance the quality of life of their regions,” Ramsberger said. “As a mission-driven Center, our commitment is to positively impact the patron experience on and off the stage.  It is through the generosity of donors like Michael and Deborah that we will be able to offer critical community programming and be more than just a building, but a local institution.”

The Sciarrino gift is the second endowment pledge in two months.  The project currently exceeds $90 million in philanthropic commitments.

2 responses to “Dr. Phillips center receives another big gift

  1. I’m going to say something that will sound bitter and unpopular, but if these DPAC donors set aside just 1% of the money they’re donating toward existing theaters such as Winter Park Playhouse, Mad Cow, Shakes et al, those hundreds of thousands of dollars would do far more toward employing local actors and artisans than the DPAC ever will. Unfortunately, there’s no prestige in the smaller donations. I don’t begrudge the DPAC donations (much) – I’d just like to see a little more community support within the community. 🙂

    • Chris, the performing-arts center has never had much to do with local theater. The driving force has been to find a home for classical music and the ballet. What’s galling now is that goal has been put for the foreseeable future.