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For the Record
USITT Needs ‘Bricks’ to Secure Future

Lawrence J. Hill
Chair, USITT@50 Campaign

The past year has been economically volatile, and that has affected this industry, its jobs, and images of its future. It is heartening to review the strong response to the special USITT campaign to build a solid base of financial support for grants, awards, and recognition of members. This solid base will also ensure a future for the Institute itself.

In an early message about this five-year fundraising campaign, the appeal closed with:

Become a brick in the foundation of the Institute’s future.

Those who are devoted to British films of the 1930s and 40s will recall hearing the term “brick,” used to describe people. “What a brick Charles is” or “Cecily is a real brick about it, you know.” Loosely, a “brick” is a good sort, a person who won't let the side down. More importantly, this is often used to describe someone after they have demonstrated such qualities.

More prosaically they are reliable, helpful, and generous. We have been asking USITT members to “step up” and “stand up” and make a financial commitment in this early appeal; the members have done so.

As we move quickly along the road to Kansas City and the 50th year celebration, think on what these acts of philanthropy mean. A donation becomes the principal for a grant so a member can complete research about the theatre world. An award means the imprimatur from USITT on the professional quality of a person’s work. An international travel award means USITT reaches out to world theatre.

While sensitive to the circumstances surrounding us, remember that a gift to USITT this year continues to convey one specific message, year after year, to the recipient: your work is important and the Institute is proud to recognize it.

During this special year, there is a 50 percent match of gifts going to four funds that support USITT’s mission: Samuel H. Scripps for international activities; Edward F. Kook for research; New Century for student activities; and USITT for the organization’s future.

Giving can be done online, with online or paper membership renewals, and on any Conference registration form.

Additionally, USITT welcomes offers of an estate gift or other efforts in supporting USITT. To initiate discussions, contact Michelle L. Smith at or by calling 800-938-7488, ext 102.

A foundation of bricks will secure USITT for decades. Envision a time in the future when an Anglophile who receives a grant will muse gratefully on the generosity of those in 2010 who made a gesture of philanthropy, a pledge of faith in the future. Hear the murmur, “Garn, what wonderful blokes did that?” The most appropriate response? “They were good sorts, those bricks!”

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