What Recession? Merrimac Rep Boasts a Big Benefactor

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Merrimack Rep LogoCourtesy of an email from marketing associate Dan Berube, The Clyde Fitch Report has learned that the Lowell, Mass.-based Merrimac Repertory Theatre is bucking a philanthropic trend. With banks, real estate companies, insurance firms and other corporate titans easing up on largesse, Merrimac, a midsized nonprofit, has landed a corporate sponsor for its entire upcoming season, part of a “two-year commitment to support and underwrite the theatre’s productions and arts education programs.” It is “the first time in the theatre’s 31-year history that an entire season will have a corporate sponsor.” Not bad in these times.

To be sure, other nonprofit groups are chiming in elsewhere with similar announcements. We’ve chosen to highlight this particular announcement to make a point: If an organization is canny and considerate about corporate friends, if they have striven for deep relationships with businesses over time, such deals can still be struck.

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Here’s the press release:

LOWELL COOPERATIVE BANK SPONSORS MERRIMACK REP
Bank becomes official sponsor of the 2009-2010 Season

Merrimack Repertory Theatre is proud to announce Lowell Cooperative Bank as the official 2009-2010 Season Sponsor. As the lead corporate sponsor, the bank has made a two-year commitment to support and underwrite the theatre’s productions and arts education programs for the benefit of the entire community. This is the first time in the theatre’s 31-year history that an entire season will have a corporate sponsor.

“On behalf of Lowell Cooperative Bank, I am proud to support such a valuable institution dedicated to the advancement of artistic excellence,” notes Richard E. Bolton, Jr., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lowell Cooperative Bank. “Merrimack Rep brings so many direct and indirect benefits to the Merrimack Valley. We look forward to the upcoming season,” he concludes.

The 2009-2010 Season, which runs September through May, includes the world premieres of The Flying Karamazov Brothers’ Flings & Eros, beginning September 10, and a newly commissioned comedy by Richard Dresser. The season also includes the regional premieres of Heroes by Gerald Sibleyras, adapted by Tom Stoppard; Black Pearl Sings! by Frank Higgins; and The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead by Robert Hewett. Rounding out the season are The Seafarer by Conor McPherson and Fabuloso by John Kolvenbach.

“We are delighted and thankful to have Lowell Cooperative Bank as our official season sponsor in 2009-2010, our 31st season as the region’s leading performing arts organization,” says Tom Parrish, Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s Executive Director. “Lowell Cooperative Bank’s philanthropic leadership is helping to raise the curtain on another fantastic season of theatre for the Merrimack Valley. With ticket sales supporting only 35% of our operating budget, this partnership will help carry forth our charitable mission of creating first-rate professional theatre that is affordable to our entire community. Particularly during these economically challenging times, their support ensures that everyone will have access to our nationally-acclaimed productions and education programs.”

For more information, contact Dan Berube at berube@merrimackrep.org.