GENEVA — Smith Center for the Arts raised over $40,000 during its inaugural, 24-hour online giving day event March 26.

Powered by GiveGab, it was the largest single-day fundraiser for the Smith in recent history. In a year when COVID-19 forced the iconic Smith Opera House to suspend revenue-generating live performances, the support was a much-needed boost.

Philanthropists Dave and Brenda Rickey, the Cooper family and Bottomless Brewing matched a portion of the gifts received on the giving day, enabling donors to double their gift and impact.

“The amount raised will be an incredible contribution to our 2021 financial position, not to mention the strengthened connections with donors that will pay dividends for years to come,” Smith Center for the Arts Board of Directors Chairman Mitch Wilber said.

Donors received an appreciation video from one of 20-plus talented artists and professionals who pre-recorded singing, cooking, dancing, musical performances and more.

Mara O’Laughlin coordinated the effort to recruit dozens of “Ambassadors” for the Smith who promoted the giving day in advance through social media networks. Promotional videos featuring Matt Venuti, Patty Blue and Palmyra-Macedon Conservatory of Dance helped build the excitement.

The event coincided with World Theatre Day, an observance initiated by the International Theatre Institute 60 years ago. The City of Geneva commemorated the 126-year-old Smith Opera House by reading a proclamation aloud at a City Council meeting in early March. The city recognized the contribution the Smith has made to cultural and community life of Geneva, and encouraged its citizens to celebrate and engage with the Smith.

“We take solace in the fact that the 126-year-old theatre has seen two World Wars and a previous global pandemic,” said Susie Monagan, executive director of the Smith Center for the Arts. “We are thrilled by this outpouring of support from the community, and look forward to welcoming everyone back.”

For concert, theater, community events and film screening information, visit www.thesmith.org, or follow the Smith on Facebook and Twitter.

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