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February 23, 2021

Donor’s endowment hits all the right notes for arts education

“Our students had a great time at the Rosa Parks play! Many of them had never been to such an event. This was a terrific experience for them.”

Quotes like these are music to Steve Adams’ ears.

And he’s heard them quite often since he, his wife, Lisa, and his brother set up an endowment at the JCCC Foundation to honor his parents and provide arts education opportunities for K-12 students across the metro area.

“With what has happened to reduce funding for the arts, we decided to help people who may not get the chance to see performances,” says Adams. “This gives them a chance.”

Endowment Strikes a Chord

Adams likes that an endowment is not just one-time support. As the endowment grows from donations and interest, it supports activities and programs at the College that he and his family care about. Through their endowment, they can be involved in directing the annual proceeds to meet needs that fit their passions.

During fall and winter of the 2019-2020 school year, the Adams Family Arts Education Endowment provided tickets for 692 students from 13 schools to experience performances at the Midwest Trust Center (MTC). Nearly half of those schools had a high percentage of children from low-income families. Their endowment also paid for bus transportation for 10 schools to attend various MTC events.

Adams has degrees in statistics and accounting and is a fourth-generation banker. “Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is really important, but STEAM (plus the arts) is even bigger,” says Adams.

Both Steve and Lisa come from artistic families, so they know how important the arts are as part of a comprehensive education. “With the arts, you learn to count by 8ths or 16ths – that comes from learning music. Or when you build a set for a performance, you learn to solve problems and work with people,” Adams says. “The arts aren’t just for liberal arts people; they’re for everyone.”

Kara Armstrong, JCCC Arts Education Program Director, says the Adams family’s dedication to ensuring arts opportunities for all children “is inspiring and has helped us serve many students in our community.”

Endowments such as Adams’ provide consistent funding, which assists in planning each performance season. According to MTC General Manager Emily Behrmann, it also opens doors for the community to engage in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. “Donors who set up an endowment are truly special,” says Behrmann. “They make a huge impact on who we can bring to the College and feature on our stages.”

Adams hopes his story inspires others to set up their own endowment. At Commerce Bank, he worked closely with the Trust Department and became familiar with endowments as a special way of charitable giving. “Think about something you’re excited about,” he encourages, “and look at any needs not being met. Look at what nobody else is doing; you may help accomplish something amazing that inspires and gives hope.”

Fine Tune Your Giving!

There are a variety of ways to give to support the performing arts. Your contributions make a big impact!

If you want to contribute beyond an annual gift, meet with your financial advisor and then talk with us. We’ll work with you to ensure your gift has the impact you envision. Contact the JCCC Foundation to discuss your goals and dreams.