BOSJudy-ChicagoThis year, WAM Theatre has a new fundraising initiative up its sleeve. With WAM’s main fundraising benefit event set to happen on July 15 at Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, WAM Theatre announces their other main 2015 fundraising project- the “Summer of 100 Dinners.” Here Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven and “Summer of 100 Dinners” Benefit Committee co-chairs Ellen Manley and Janet Carey talk about this exciting new idea.


WAM: This is an innovative innovative fundraising project.  How did you come up with the idea?
Kristen van Ginhoven: I heard about the ‘Summer of 100 Dinners’ project from a colleague who did the project at his theatre.

WAM: And I take it it was wildly successful there?
Kristen: It was very successful and people had a great time putting on the dinners. The idea is particularly inviting because the dinners can happen anywhere in the world!

Janet: For many people, it’s a great way to finally invite those people over that you’ve been meaning to have over and it’s a feasible, fun way to support WAM’s work.

WAM: How does it work?
Ellen: We’re seeking 100 people to host a dinner on behalf of the theatre between June 1 and August 31, 2015. The style of dinner can range from simple to elegant with possibilities including a potluck, backyard BBQ, wine & cheese tasting, or formal dinner.

Janet: The host selects the date and time, invites the guests and provides the location and the dinner. The guests are asked to each bring a certain amount of money, usually around the price of a dinner out. Those funds are then donated to WAM Theatre. The amount each host requests is up to them, with the goal being to raise a minimum of $250 from each dinner.

WAM: Are guests’ contributions tax deductible? And where will the money raised go?
Kristen: Every donation from the guests will be tax-deductible and will go to support WAM’s theatrical productions, play readings, and educational theatre work with girls throughout Berkshire County, all of which are directly connected to our double philanthropic mission.

WAM: How will WAM support the hosts?
Ellen: The “Summer of 100 Dinners” Benefit Committee stands ready to help the hosts with planning their dinner. Hosts can have a WAM representative present or can be sent some materials for display and distribution.

WAM: How many hosts have signed up so far?
Kristen: Twenty dinners are already in the works in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley, and as far afield as New York City, Maine, Florida, Brussels, Belgium, and Stratford, Ontario, Canada. All hosts will be entered into a drawing to receive a special prize.

Janet: I will be hosting a dinner and have called a number of friends and asked them to do the same.  I guess my enthusiasm is contagious because several have said ‘Yes’! This gives everyone the opportunity to really feel good about hanging out with friends whose company they enjoy. It’s a winning experience all around.

Ellen: Dinner Hosts Tom and Betsy Sherman decided to get involved because they are deeply impressed with WAM’s work. “The company is a very novel and creative force in the arts,” Tom said. “We are astounded at the reach, talent, and impact of this group of artists to do good works, both on stage, and on the world stage.”  (Tom is a Branch Director of RBC Wealth Management in Pittsfield, a new WAM Theatre Corporate Sponsor.)

WAM: So, we need eighty more hosts, right? How can people get involved?
Kristen:  To learn more and to sign up to host a dinner, visit Or you can e-mail Ellen or Janet; or call Janet at 518-794-7379.

Learn more and sign up here