November 2017

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November 2017

Thoughts from Mark Shanda

USITT President

Within the next month, you should have in your hands the 2017 Annual Report of the Institute. This year, the theme of this impressive document is “Better Together.” We can all likely agree that our organization is indeed better served, better enjoyed, and better appreciated when we are together! That is one of the reasons that our Annual Conference & Stage Expo is so highly anticipated and well attended. I hope to see you there.

For the fourth year in a row, I am pleased to report that one of the key metrics in philanthropy has been met by the Board of Directors: 100 percent board participation in annual giving for this past fiscal year. Although our success at gaining external foundation support for the many valued USITT projects has been limited, without 100 percent board participation, no external funding agency will even consider our application. Not-for-profit funding support is predicated in part on the knowledge that those most directly involved in an organization must show their own financial commitment before someone else will respond.

While the donation of money in support of our endeavors is important, in this organization we also celebrate the many hours of time that are so freely donated. We have Section Chairs and Commissioners who commit their time to the program and wrangle other volunteers in supporting regional, national, and year-round events. They give of their time.

When I look at the multiple assignments our Board of Directors each take on for the Institute, in the context of their “day jobs,” I am all the more humbled by their commitment. We have national leaders in industry, education, themed entertainment, regional theatre, and production who have all chosen to actively support that which we do. Their engagement at our regularly scheduled online meetings, face-to-face committee gatherings, retreats, and at the Conference add up. They give of their time.

Working with all those folks are you, our individual members, who might be pulling together a panel or workshop, crafting a poster session or article for publication, designing a project that will eventually be exhibited, or teaching students and working professionals. USITT is a remarkable organization that relies on and celebrates the many gifts of time, talent, and financial resources given by our members. You give of your time.

Membership in USITT is a value proposition. If you value what you get from the Institute, you are likely to, in turn, value supporting those member benefits. As we take time at the end of this month to reflect on giving thanks, please consider reaching out to any of the hundreds of folks who make our Institute what it is and simply say, “thank you.” And, to go one step further in showing how you value USITT, please consider making a financial donation of your own by going to and selecting the “I want to…Make a Gift” pull down menu.

My sincere thanks to all of you for what you do and for the privilege of serving as President.

Mark Shanda

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