The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center has received $50,000 in general operating funding from corporate partner American Portfolios Financial Services (AP), a privately-held, independent broker/dealer that services financial advisers across the country. This charitable contribution, made possible through the American Portfolios Foundation, will help sustain WHBPAC through the COVID-19 pandemic as it looks for new ways to innovate and present the performing arts to audiences. AP’s support will also ensure that WHBPAC will be able to continue its Arts Academy programs and reach a wider audience than ever before.
“Support from partners like American Portfolios is critical to our survival,” said Julienne Penza-Boone, the executive director of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. “Although we represent completely different spheres of business, we share core values — the most important being that we put people first. CEO Lon T. Dolber understands that in a time of crisis, we have to take care of one another. He recognizes the importance of access to the arts, particularly in these dark times. This makes American Portfolios an ideal partner for WHBPAC.”
Like all local arts organizations, WHBPAC has been shuttered since March 2020 and was forced to reschedule its summer lineup to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a loss from which the theater is still recovering. The Westhampton Beach economy has also suffered as well.
“This funding will go a long way towards helping the theater’s arts academy continue to offer small, socially-distanced arts programs,” Penza-Boone said. “We were able to pivot and offer most of our classes virtually — including masterclasses with Broadway performers and inspiring webinars with our Moment series — but now we’re facing the reality of what it will take to reopen safely at some point and this generous donation will help us do just that.”
“AP has taken a long-term stakeholder approach toward sustainability by implementing a business strategy that considers every dimension in the ethical, social, environmental, cultural and economic realms,” stated AP CEO Lon T. Dolber. “While we aspire to touch upon many aspects of sustainability, we have always been committed to serving people and places we are connected to — more specifically through our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts, in which AP gives us a platform to do good work in our communities, in turn making the world a better place for everyone. Therefore, we are pleased to be in a position to aid WHBPAC during these unprecedented times and are honored to support their mission.”
WHBPAC originally opened in 1932 as Prudential’s Westhampton Theatre, a movie theater, before eventually falling into disrepair. In 1996, a group of concerned citizens joined together to revive the art deco theater and restore it to its former glory. More than half the cost of the entire renovation project came from residents and business owners. On July 4, 1998, the new Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center opened its doors to the public, where it has since cultivated its reputation as the pioneer of the Hamptons performing arts community.
A resident of East Moriches, Dolber has both a personal and professional connection to WHBPAC.
“As good corporate citizens, we are obliged to help the communities in which we live and work,” Dolber said of AP. “Social responsibility is a mutually beneficial exercise on a multitude of levels, namely, financially. We gain so much more, personally and professionally, by doing good than by worrying solely about the bottom line.”
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