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July 17, 2020

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. July 17, 2020 – Johnson County Community College has accepted a $1,000,000 donation intended to provide an ongoing endowment to support the College’s Performing Arts Series. These funds will also provide scholarships for students studying creative arts at JCCC.

The donors Brad and Libby Bergman are long-time supporters of the College, having co-chaired the JCCC Foundation’s annual Some Enchanted Evening Gala – the largest single fundraising event for student scholarships. Brad has also served as Chair of the JCCC Foundation Board of Directors. The Bergmans have been consistent supporters of dozens of activities at JCCC. They have four children, each of whom has benefited from classes taught at the College. 

As a feature of the donation, the Carlsen Center for Performing Arts will in the future bear the name Midwest Trust Center, a local company founded by Brad Bergman. The donation was facilitated by the coordination and generous agreement of Dr. Charles Carlsen and his wife Linda to re-brand the performing arts complex in recognition of the significant contribution from the Bergmans.

“Linda and I spent decades of our lives dedicated to growing and expanding opportunities at JCCC for students and for the community,” Dr. Carlsen noted. “When we were approached about the generosity of Brad and Libby, we were honored to coordinate with them to appropriately recognize their gift.”

The Bergmans echoed the commitment to students and to the community. “We have been blessed with business success, in part because of those who built institutions in this county like JCCC,” said Brad. “Giving back is part of our DNA and all of the activities that occur in this building benefit Johnson County and the Kansas City metropolitan area. The performing arts help everyone teach, learn and smile.”

Following the unanimous favorable recommendation by the College’s Facilities Naming Committee, the Board of Trustees approved the proposed contribution and the renaming of the performing arts center at its regular monthly meeting on July 16, 2020.

Dedicated in 1990, the complex includes Yardley Hall, Polsky Theater, the Bodker Black Box Theater, a recital venue, numerous classrooms and related support facilities. This fall marks the 30th anniversary of the College’s Performing Arts Series in the complex. Tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff members have benefited from the venue since its opening, and hundreds of thousands of community members of all ages have enjoyed the benefits of the performing arts.

Emily Behrmann, General Manager for the Performing Arts at the College, summed up the impact of the Bergmans donation stating, “The JCCC community is proud of the impact of the Performing Arts on our students, our campus and our community over the last 30 years. This gift will continue to expand our legacy of bringing diverse artists from all over the world to our region. I offer my sincere thanks to the Bergmans and the Carlsens for their commitment to JCCC and for their recognition of the power of the Performing Arts."