Executive director, master educator and performer Arianna Ross from Story Tapestries visited Boonsboro Elementary School in the spring to share folk tales and stories from around the world with the children. Ms. Ross used the power of storytelling, dance, theatre, creative writing, visual arts and music to help students foster a deeper connection to the subjects they’re learning in school, such as math, science, or social studies. “I believe in the power of story to change community. My mantra has always been, ‘It is through the laughter and tears of our tales that the lessons of life are learned,’” said Ross. During her performance, Ms. Ross integrated musical instruments, fabrics and clothing from the cultures of which she spoke, inviting students to participate as rainmakers, animals and other integral parts of the story. The Joanne Beckley Fund for Cultural Arts, a designated fund at the Community Foundation, makes yearly grants to Boonsboro Elementary School for cultural arts experiences like this one. Mrs. Beckley loved music, art and learning about other cultures. Her family, friends and colleagues created the fund in 2007 at the Community Foundation to honor Mrs. Beckley, who served as secretary of the elementary school for 15 years prior to her passing in 1996. Each year, a committee within the school chooses the different activities and programs. Disbursements from the fund cover the cost of assemblies, visiting artists and other cultural experiences for the students.
Past programs have included pottery instruction, puppet shows and performances. Last year, the students participated in a Drum Alive workshop, where they enjoyed a fun, energetic fitness class that combined rhythm, music and movement. Another year, Authentic Community Theatre worked with the music teacher at the school to create an original production.
Designated funds like this one specify one or more organizations to receive annual or periodic distributions that donors select as grant beneficiaries. With a single gift, a donor can establish an ongoing program that issues grants on a yearly basis to one or more nonprofit organizations.