Councilmen pledge $60,000 to Nashville arts program

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By Kaine Riggin – Nashville Stages Magazine

During the annual Labor Day Barbecue at the Donelson Senior Center at 108 Donelson Pike, four Metro Councilmen announced the assignment of $120,000 in discretionary funds to support the many public service activities that take place at the center. The funds will be split between The Donelson Senior Center and The Senior Center for the Arts, a separate non-profit organization that brings theatre and arts activities to the entire Nashville area.

"I just sat there and cried," remarked Jane Schnelle, Executive Director of the Donelson Senior Center. "Our councilmen have done something that will truly help our community. These funds will help us, not only to continue providing services that had been in danger due to funding cuts, but help to add new services that would not have been possible otherwise."

Each member of the Metro Council is assigned $50,000 in discretionary funds which they may distribute to non-profit organizations of their choice. Metro Councilman J.B Loring announced that $40,000 of his allocations would go to these two organizations. Harold White, whose entire district is also served by both organizations, also gave $40,000. Councilman Jim Gotto and Carl Burch also announced that $10,000 of their funds would be split between the two organizations.

"It’s amazing to be out here and see how many people of all ages find happiness on a daily basis at this place," commented Loring, who also donated his time each day serving up barbecue at the annual four day event. "This is their money and I’m just glad that I can give it back to so many of my neighbors."

The Senior Center for the Arts is best known for its popular Shoneys Family Dinner Theatre Series which had more public performances than any other local theatre group last year and offers dinner and show for only $20 They also launched a lunchtime concert series on the third Wednesday of each month which is scheduled to resume in January.

"This building is a true ‘community center’ in every sense of the word," admits SCA Producing Director Kaine Riggan who adds that children, young parents, baby boomers and seniors take part in their arts programming on a daily basis. "Our entire council continues to show their support for this program and I am so proud to live and work in districts where people like this represent us."
These announcements were all made at the start of the first annual Hog Calling Contest, hosted by Donelson/Hermitage philanthropists Odell & Mary Evelyn Binkley. The Binkleys started the round of giving by presenting a check for $10,000 to each of the organizations.

Altogether, between the Barbecue revenues and gifts from Binkley, Gotto, Loring and White, about $150,000 was raised. For more information about services and events at the center call (615) 883- 8375 or visit www.seniorarts.org .