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South Jersey's only year-round Professional Equity Theatre has been recognized by the two largest grant funders of the arts in New Jersey. The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation is the largest private funder of the arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts is the largest public funder of the arts. This is the first year that both organizations have funded the Eagle Theatre and marks a major milestone for the non-profit Hammonton-based theatre since its founding in 2009.

The Dodge Foundation is named after Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, who was the daughter of William Avery Rockefeller Jr., who helped found Standard Oil with his brother John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Since its creation in 1972, the foundation has given away more than $400,000,000. The Eagle Theatre is the first and only Hammonton charity to be awarded funding in history.

As part of this funding, the Eagle Theatre was initially awarded $10,000 a few months ago, then an additional $15,000 second round of funding in July, along with eligibility for a $5,000 matching grant for board development. The Dodge Foundation also invited the board and staff of the theatre to an exclusive, multi-month professional development intensive workshop series. Just in time consulting services have also been granted to the theatre to continue to strengthen the organization’s capacity.

“Dodge staff continues to be impressed with the range of new ideas the Eagle Theatre staff uses to promote and grow the theatre,” Christopher J. Daggett, Dodge Foundation President and CEO said.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, which operates as a division within the Department of State, also officially awarded the Eagle Theatre its first round of funding for $6,000 toward its Theatre for Young Audiences Series. The Series focuses on professional, adult actors performing plays produced for children. This new initiative is part of the newly formed Eagle Theatre Conservatory, which will focus on educating and enlightening people of all ages from South Jersey about the theater arts.

According to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant Panel, “The theatre plays an important role in the Town of Hammonton and is raising the profile of the community, which is a significant benefit.”

James Donio, Managing Director of the Eagle Theatre said, “We are extremely thankful for the generous support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, their funding and technical support is incredibly helpful. This truly shows the regional and statewide impact the Eagle Theatre has.”

In other Eagle Theatre Development news, a three year, $3M annual giving campaign was launched in the spring, to date nearly $500,000 of that goal has already been committed. An innovative Underwriting Program for small, medium and large businesses was also established and has created partnerships throughout Southern New Jersey.

The Eagle Theatre is at 208 Vine St. The next special event at the Eagle Theatre is a stand-up comedy night at 8 p.m. on Aug. 8 and a wine lounge revue performance of “Beehive: The 60s Musical Sensation!,” which runs from Aug. 13 to 23. The 2015 Mainstage Season resumes with “Closer” in September and October and “Bonnie and Clyde” in November and December.

More information and tickets are available online at www.TheEagleTheatre.com or www.facebook.com/TheEagleTheatre or by calling (609) 704-5012.

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