Charitable Foundation Awards Grants to Two Local Organizations
OGUNQUIT, ME July 26, 2016 – The Tramuto Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization founded by global healthcare leader and philanthropist Donato Tramuto of Ogunquit, has pledged $100,000 in grants over the next three years to both the Ogunquit Playhouse Children’s Theatre Camp Program and York County Community College (YCCC) in Wells.
In addition to a $50,000 grant to support the Playhouse summer camp program, the Tramuto Foundation has pledged the same amount over three years as a founding partner of Maine’s only two-year, associate degree program in Gerontology at YCCC.
That grant will be presented to YCCC President Barbara Finkelstein at the Foundation’s 15th Anniversary Celebration/Benefit on October 1 at the Velveteen Habit Farmhouse Restaurant in Cape Neddick. Tramuto created the Foundation in honor of two friends and their young son who perished aboard Flight 175 when it hit the 2nd World Trade tower on September 11, 2001.
Tramuto will present the Ogunquit Playhouse grant on stage to Executive Artistic Director Bradford T. Kenney prior to the evening performance of The Hunchback of Notre Dame on Friday, July 29 at 8 pm.
“The next day, July 30th, will be my 60th birthday and instead of receiving gifts, my request to the Foundation’s board of directors is that I provide this gift to the Ogunquit Playhouse,” Tramuto explained. Tramuto, a co-owner of two local businesses, Caffé Prego and the Inn on Shore Road, was a member of the Ogunquit Playhouse Board of Directors from 2003-2007 and was the first participant in what is now a successful corporate sponsorship program for the theatre. He is also the CEO of Healthways, the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions.
“I have always considered the Playhouse to be the artistic jewel of our community and I couldn’t be more proud to help support their mission to provide theatrical training to all children. I know the tuition can be a financial burden for many parents and we didn’t want that to prevent youngsters from participating in this wonderful and unique experience,” Tramuto said, noting that the Playhouse grant is closely aligned with the Foundation’s mission to empower organizations that work to improve the lives of the disadvantaged.
The $50,000 grant to the Ogunquit Playhouse will provide tuition assistance for underprivileged children who seek to attend the popular summer theatre program, which provides weeklong theatrical training to youth of all ages. The younger students in the Rising Stars (ages 5-8) and Center Stage (ages 8-10) programs perform in the rehearsal studio behind the Playhouse, while the Jr. Players (ages 9-16) and Teen Players (ages 13-18) culminate in productions performed on the Playhouse’s main stage. The Teen Players program is held throughout August, requiring significant rehearsal time before the students participate in two weekend performances at the end of the month.
“It is hard to find words to express and measure the long and significant contribution that Donato Tramuto has made to our beloved Ogunquit Playhouse,” said Executive Artistic Director Kenney. “As one of our earliest supporters and Board Directors, his personal commitment to the culture of our community, the Playhouse itself, and the audiences access to it, is unparalleled.
“Donato’s vision has led to a number of access services that allow literally thousands of our patrons who have hearing deficiencies, to enjoy our shows fully,” Kenney added. “His guidance and leadership in our sponsorship and donated income programs have led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in donated and sponsored underwriting to the Ogunquit Playhouse. Now, again, the Tramuto Foundation shows the vision to lead a Children’s Theatre endowment campaign to provide critical support to those talented children who otherwise would not have access to live theatre, and the training and cultural impact it provides.”
York County Community College Grant:
The YCCC grant will be used to support a new two-year Associate Degree program in Gerontology beginning in September that will prepare students to develop careers in aging, or further train people already employed or active in Gerontology or related fields. According to President Finkelstein, this is the only two-year program in Maine available to people seeking a career in elder care and associated professions.
“With this generous gift from the Tramuto Foundation, York County Community College will now provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to work in a variety of growing services related to Gerontology and end-of-life care, as well as a strong base of general education courses to build upon for those students who will transfer to a Bachelor’s degree program,” President Finkelstein added.
“I know how critically important the new Associate in Applied Science program will be for the growing population of aging adults in our state and the professional caretakers who will provide the services they require,” Tramuto said. “I am honored to be a founding partner in support of this innovative area of study here in York County.”
In addition to the grants to the Ogunquit Playhouse and York County Community College, the Tramuto Foundation will also award a third $50,000, three-year grant to Christ the King Seminary in Buffalo, NY to be presented at the Foundation’s 15th Anniversary Celebration/Benefit on October 1. The grant will be used to fund the seminary’s theological field education and pastoral internship program that immerses seminarians in a variety of community settings while working in parishes, hospitals, schools, prisons and social services agencies within the Diocese of Buffalo.
“I have been very fortunate in my life,” he explained, “and when one is given much, I believe it is required to give back to others. I am very familiar with the Seminary, which is close to my childhood hometown of Dunkirk, NY. President-Rector Father Joseph Gatto has been a close friend from childhood and I am so pleased that my Foundation will be able to support these important programs.”