At a time when many arts organizations need a little help, a local endowment fund is doing its part to lend a hand.
For the second year, the Jason G. Fordham Memorial Endowment Fund is making a donation to Rome Little Theatre as well as the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation.
Jim Curry, accountant for the fund, said last year those organizations received $500 each from the fund which is still in its infancy. This year, however, the fund has grown and he’ll be presenting representatives of those two organizations with checks for $1,500 each.
“It took a few years as the fund began to grow for us to see any sizeable return,” Curry said, “so last year was a token payout. We had a celebration and those organizations were presented $500 each. We called it a milestone.”
The fund is set up so that the principal cannot be touched. It’s the interest and dividends produced by the fund that are paid out to RLT and HDTF. And those payouts are in perpetuity.
Fordham passed away in 2013 and the endowment fund, in his honor, was finalized the following year. It has since been growing steadily.
“Jason served on the board of directors of RLT and HDTF and served as president of RLT for two years before his health deteriorated,” Curry said. “So the fund was set up for a couple reasons. It serves as Jason’s legacy and it also serves to support those two organizations in perpetuity.”
Curry himself has served on the boards of both organizations and said local arts organizations are always in need of donations and support, particularly this year that has seen so many organizations hit hard by covid restrictions.
“Many of our local arts organizations depend on productions and ticket sales to stay afloat,” he said. “Well right now many of them don’t really have an income. When we started the fund we never imagined this would happen but we’re glad we can help even just a little bit at a time like this.”
He hopes over time that the fund will grow even more and be able to produce even bigger payouts to RLT and HDTF.
“I’m happy and Jason would be happy,” he said. “It’s very important to support the arts in Rome. I have personally made a donation to RLT this year. They’ve done all sorts of outreach to keep the organization going. Many things have been on hold. I’m sure the community has sensed the need to support even if they’re not able to see shows right now. We can’t forget about the arts and particularly our local arts.”