Meet Our Donors
Meet Our Donors
Gail and Robert Wilensky
Every Sunday, Gail Wilensky listens to The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, or The Pearl Fishers, “without fail.” It’s a ritual that reflects a life enriched by love, family, and the arts.
Cathy and Mike Mayton
Cathy and Mike Mayton are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. Born and raised in Arkansas, Mike is from the small town of Taylor and Cathy is a native of Little Rock, where the couple continues to reside.
Janice Stango is always on the move. She’s driven from Washington D.C. to Alaska six times. “You just drive to Canada and make a left,” she laughs. However, at the Kennedy Center she takes a moment to slow down to enjoy the art.
Alma and Ambassador Joseph Gildenhorn
From the moment the building first opened in 1971, Alma and Ambassador Joseph Gildenhorn have been deeply involved in the Kennedy Center. Over the ensuing 45 years the two have viewed the Kennedy Center as a second home.
"I Am So Grateful for What the Arts Have Done for Me"
As an estate planning attorney, Jane C. Bergner helps others decide how to best support their favorite charities. Personally, her bequest decision was easy: Jane lights up when she talks about coming to a Kennedy Center performance.
Dana Hearn and Kevin McCloskey
Although they live 75 miles away in "Little" Washington, Virginia, Dana Hearn and Kevin McCloskey feel every trip they make to the Kennedy Center is worth it. "Just entering the building is like being in a cathedral" says Kevin. Their visits provide them with a tranquil sense of calm and grounding; and when they hear a piece of interesting or beautiful music, they are literally transported to a peaceful place.
George and Dorothy "Duffy" Ftikas
George and Dorothy "Duffy" Ftikas share a love of symphonic and chamber music, good food and travel. They particularly love the National Symphony Orchestra. "We are so pleased that we can support a first tier orchestra." Subscribers since they moved to Washington DC in 1986, the Ftikases say it's a privilege to see the combination of lyricism from the days of Principal Conductor Mstislav Rostropovich added to the discipline from Leonard Slatkin culminate in the excitement of current Director, Maestro Christoph Eschenbach.
The first thing you'll notice about Bill Turner is his height. But once you get to know him you'll realize that the biggest thing about him is really his heart. "There is nothing I won't do for the Kennedy Center. When I volunteer, I do it without conditions." Not only has Bill volunteered as a tour guide and area leader for Kennedy Center festivals since 1988, but he is also a subscriber, donor, patron, usher, and general Kennedy Center enthusiast. You'll find him, resplendent in his red jacket, directing guests outside the Box Office on Thursday evenings or at the Eisenhower Theater taking your ticket at several weekend performances.
Bob and Jamie Craft
Robert H. Craft and his wife, Jamie have such enthusiasm for opera, ballet and the performing arts that they sparkle with excitement when remembering the performances they've seen. Not only can they recall the name of the opera or ballet, they also remember the performers and the conductor, as well as where and when the performance took place. It's almost as if they mark events in their lives by the definitive performances they saw. They laud the heart-stoppingly beautiful performances they've seen from Diana Vishneva dancing Giselle with the Mariinsky Ballet to Plácido Domingo and Anja Kampe performing Die Walküre with Washington National Opera.
Patricia Morton: “Wherever I am, my spirit demands culture”
Patricia Morton's life story is a tale of adventure, travel and commitment to the performing arts. Her mother was a teacher and exposed her to the arts from an early age. Even her birthplace seems to have set Patricia up for a life in the arts: "I was born in the same town as Merce Cunningham, Centralia, Washington", she likes to say. She often remembers events in relation to performances she saw and artists she liked. Her father and brother were sports lovers and always had the radio tuned to a game. If she wanted to hear music, Patricia had to make it herself: she became an accomplished pianist and thrived in a family of singers and artists.
Dr. James T. Jackson: “The arts saved my life”
When Dr. James T. Jackson first moved to Washington, DC, in 2001, he would walk from his new office at George Washington University to the Kennedy Center every day after work to clear his mind and renew his spirit. “DC is a hard place, especially if you don’t know a lot of people,” he says. “The Kennedy Center really saved me my first year.” Dr. Jackson firmly believes that more people, especially students and teachers, should take advantage of the many offerings at the Kennedy Center including participating in the educational programs. He knows first-hand how the arts can change a life.
Marilyn Schoon and Bill Wortley – 66 years of volunteering!
Marilyn Schoon and Bill Wortley love the Kennedy Center so much that between them they have volunteered at the Center for total of 66 years! Marilyn started in 1972, only a year after the Kennedy Center opened. A few years later, she met Bill at the Alexandria roller rink! Marilyn introduced the Kennedy Center to Bill, who had recently moved from California. Bill has been volunteering ever since.
Francis H. Rasmus, Jr.
Having shared in the joys of the performing arts with his family throughout his life, Francis H. Rasmus, Jr. recently established an endowment at the Kennedy Center to celebrate the memory of his parents, Mary and Francis Rasmus, Sr. Not only has he set up more than one charitable gift annuity with the Center, he has also named the Kennedy Center partial beneficiary of several IRAs.
“When I set up the Charitable Remainder Trust, not only did I receive an immediate tax deduction, but I gained a sense of accomplishment and the personal satisfaction of knowing that I am taking care of something I love.” Mr. Nordlinger wants to ensure that future generations will enjoy the NSO as he does. His lifelong love of music has inspired him to give generously of both his time and money for many years.
Grover Batts, a North Carolina native who still speaks with a delightful hint of a Southern accent, moved to Washington DC after returning from serving in WWII and completing his degree at Wake Forest thanks to the GI bill. Immediately after arriving in Washington, DC, Grover bought a subscription to the National Symphony Orchestra. Building on his love of literature, art and collecting, Grover spent 25 years of his working life at the Library of Congress as a Manuscript Historian cataloging the papers of such luminaries as Henry Kissinger, Alexander Graham Bell and even Mae West.
Lillie Lou Rietzke – honoring the memory of her son
Longtime National Symphony Orchestra patron and supporter, Mrs. Lillie Lou Rietzke wanted to create a legacy in the name of her son, Renah Blair Rietzke. In her will, she left a bequest for the National Symphony Orchestra to support a series of annual NSO children’s concerts in his memory.
Bill Hopkins and Richard Anderson
We attend lots of theater in Washington, and the Kennedy Center is tops in providing the "big show" experience to complement the abundance of high quality performances at our smaller theaters. We wanted to support the Kennedy Center in a substantial way that would not detract from our continuing needs for income during our lifetimes. The two-life charitable gift annuity does just that.
Dee and Skip Seward
Dee and Skip Seward arrived in Washington in 2001 when Skip started a new job in DC. She says the first thing they did was come to the Kennedy Center. Dee, a former school teacher, especially loves that the Kennedy Center provides free performances every day on the Millennium Stage as well as a great variety of education opportunities. She says “My heart soars each time I attend a performance.” Dee and Skip were reviewing their estate plans and realized that by leaving retirement assets to the Kennedy Center they could pay less in taxes and leave more to both their heirs and the Kennedy Center.
Jean Oliver and the late Vincent Oliver
Jean and Vincent’s love of the performing arts brought them to the Kennedy Center countless times during their 35 years of marriage. Vincent particularly loved the symphonic music, while Jean’s passion has always been theater and dance. They happily indulged each other by sharing artistic interests as much as possible. The Kennedy Center mourns Vincent Oliver’s passing in December of 1999.