Pre-concert nourishmentThroughout the course of planning the Rush Hour season, we give a great deal of thought to creating events filled with what Artistic Director Deborah Sobol refers to as “aesthetic nourishment.” RH was created to address the disconnect between what our daily lives are like and what we need to remain physically and mentally healthy. We really believe that taking that time is important in our lives, and the responses we’ve heard from all of you confirm this.

In a recent conversation with a RH supporter, we began discussing philanthropy and what motivates people to support nonprofit organizations. One such “trigger” might be the shifts in mindset that occur as we hit certain milestones in our lives.

One such milestone for me was the birth of my daughter. Like many people in my generation, I worked more or less non-stop until the day before Celia arrived, and it rarely occurred to me that I needed or lacked aesthetic nourishment. (I was culturally diverse, after all. Not only did I have television sitcoms – I attended a lot of concerts in the context of my job.) Most new parents are unaware that the arrival of a baby means the arrival of a new sheriff in town- and that sheriff is in charge of turning your concepts about time upside down. That was the summer that I really began to value my concert attendance as a respite from the demands my life (and infant) placed upon me. Not coincidentally, I think, it is also the year that I began to become thoughtfully philanthropic. To me, that means that not only did I begin to be mindful about my financial support of my favorite nonprofits, but I also took ownership of that stewardship. The amount was not large, but it was a meaningful to me because it was planned and therefore significant. As an executive director now, I mean it sincerely when I say that every donation makes a difference to us. To me, every gift is a tangible sign that we are making a difference in your lives. And every gift directly covers the costs of producing these magical concert events.

Doors opening at 5:15 p.m.My challenge as Executive Director is to raise Rush Hour’s budget before we open the doors on June 3. This year, I have two challenge grant opportunities for our supporters: a $10,000 board challenge grant for all new and increased gifts, and a special $5,000 challenge grant from a major Chicago foundation for all donors under the age of 40. Both challenges are open until June 1 and will give your gift twice the impact. Please click here to help keep RH free and accessible to all.

We look forward to seeing you in less than two months. Happy Spring!

– Megan Balderston

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