Friday, June 29, 2012

Meet Diego, Kid Philanthropist

I recently received the most wonderful email:
Hi Melissa, 
I wanted to send you this photo. My son got a Victor Bee when we went to see our last New Victory production, and became very attached to it. Here you can see the paper maché beehive he made for Victor's comfort.
Diego gets an allowance, part of which is slated for giving away. He has decided he would like his next small gift to go to the theater. Is there a way he could come in and hand it over? Thank you!
Sandy, Diego’s Mom
Sandy’s email arrived at the perfect time—June 30th is the end of our fiscal year. This means we’ll “close the books” for the year and must finish all the fundraising necessary to cover the last twelve months of New Victory programming. While every contribution helps, Diego’s gift is particularly special. In my nine years in the Development Department, this was the first time a kid ever donated part of an allowance. Diego’s actions are deeply touching, and it’s inspiring to know that a young person is supporting performing arts for kids.

I followed up with Sandy and arranged for the whole family to visit our office one afternoon. When the big day finally came, Diego and his parents arrived but Victor Bee stayed home in his homemade beehive. 5-year-old Diego was excited to meet us and see the Development office, particularly because it’s full of cool toys from fundraising events. Diego gave me his gift in a big Ziplock bag, followed by a powerful high five. I was curious to hear more from the family:

Sandy, when did you first start coming to the New Victory Theater?

We attended our first show in October 2010 and then became Friends of the theater last year. We have so many fond memories of the theater and have already reserved tickets for next season!
Diego, what was your favorite show at The New Victory Theater this year?
I liked Plop! I really liked the big “plop” machine.
What’s your favorite New Victory memory, Sandy?
Two years ago we came to El Gato con Botas. We were excited to see it because we’re Latino and the show was in Spanish, but honestly, he was three and we were worried he’d be too young. Luckily, Diego was riveted and loved being at The New Victory. He wanted to come back again and again. When he’s a little bigger, hopefully he’ll be able to do a Kids Week. We want the arts to be a consistent part of his life.
Diego, Why did you choose to give your allowance to the New Vic?
I love coming to shows. I want other kids to be able to come. And I want them to get a Victor Bee like mine.
Sandy, why do you encourage your son’s philanthropy?
I didn’t have any financial education growing up, but I want him to learn how to use his money. When he gets his allowance, he knows that 1/3 is for saving, 1/3 for spending and 1/3 for giving away to help someone else. We’re not rich, but we have more than we need and I feel like this is the right thing to do. It’s important to teach him now, when he’s young, about how to handle his money and give back to the community.
Sandy’s perspective as a parent makes a lot of sense, and Diego’s donation of the “charitable” portion of his allowance will help us bridge the gap between our low ticket prices and the high cost of operating this extraordinary theater. I’m very honored that I was the person to accept his gift and see his smile when he made the donation. Diego is only one of many donors who help keep The New Victory Theater thriving - but he's certainly the youngest philanthropist that I can remember! 
Blog by Melissa Kalt. Photos: Alexis Buatti-Ramos


  1. how exciting! It is awesome to see a family that encourages philanthropy at such a young age. Also, I have never seen a more adorable paper mache bee hive.

  2. Diego is a clearly a future Friend of the Arts - no matter where he goes and what he does with his life, thanks to his parents and his early introduction to the the incredible theater at the New Vic. My daughter is fourteen now and is passionate about the theater and very loyal to the New Vic, where she saw many of her most exciting,innovative, and memorable shows.