$1 million gift brings best of broadway to MSU


Michigan State University’s Wharton Center for Performing Arts will use a $1 million gift to endow the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at Wharton Center Series, which will attract the best of touring Broadway shows to mid-Michigan and help fund educational initiatives.

“Giving back to our local community is one way MSUFCU fulfills our mission of helping our members achieve their dreams and the ‘people helping people’ philosophy on which credit unions were founded,” said April Clobes, executive vice president and chief operating officer for MSUFCU. “We are happy to announce the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at Wharton Center Endowment and to support programs that help ensure mid-Michigan is a place alive with vibrant arts and entertainment where people are proud to live, work and visit.”

MSUFCU created the endowment because it understands the economic and cultural contributions of Broadway performances to the community, Clobes said. For example, up to 40 percent of patrons attending shows come from outside the tri-county area.

“This new $1 million gift will be the core of Wharton Center’s programming and the economic engine for the center,” said Mike Brand, executive director of Wharton. “The Broadway series will generate revenue to support other programming and address capital improvements on an annual basis.”

The endowment will be managed by MSU’s Office of Investments and Financial Management. Different from other gifts, the total amount of the endowment is invested and a portion of the income will be available for spending each year while the remainder will be reinvested to grow the fund and safeguard against inflation.

Historically, MSU’s long-term investment returns have exceeded the performance of peer universities that have endowments similar in size to MSU’s, said Robert Groves, vice president for university advancement.

When the MSU Federal Credit Union Broadway at Wharton Center Endowment is fully funded, it’s expected to generate $50,000 annually to support the production, operation, marketing and education costs incurred by Wharton Center on the touring Broadway productions, he said.

“We’re very grateful to MSUFCU and its members for again stepping up to support an important component of campus cultural programming,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “The Broadway series is something enjoyed not just by many members of the MSU community, but by many people who travel sometimes long distances to attend performances.”

The gift complements a previous $2.25 million gift made by MSUFCU to Wharton Center in 2008, which created the MSU Federal Credit Union Institute for Arts and Creativity at Wharton Center.

Today, the institute annually reaches more than 30,000 learners with enrichment opportunities to engage with the arts and with touring artists, furthering Wharton Center as a statewide resource for arts education.

Posted in At Wharton Center, Wharton Center News

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