Media release

Foundation offers $60,000 in matching grants to help the Food Bank and Trinity Rep continue recovering from pandemic

Funding will replace donations to the Food Bank that Trinity Rep traditionally had collected from audiences during live performances of 'A Christmas Carol'

The Rhode Island Foundation announced today that it will match every donation the public makes to Trinity Repertory Company during its 2021 run of “A Christmas Carol” with an equal grant to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, up to a total of $60,000.

The funding is intended to replace the donations for the Food Bank that the theater traditionally has collected from audiences. Until Trinity Rep went dark last year, the actor playing Ebenezer Scrooge had stepped forward at the end of every performance of “A Christmas Carol” and asked theater-goers to leave a donation for the Food Bank. Audiences would then drop their contributions in collection buckets on their way out of the theater. In 2019 alone, the tradition raised more than $60,000.

This commitment from the Foundation benefits two nonprofits that have been deeply impacted by the pandemic. The Food Bank has seen unprecedented demand for its services. Unable to produce for in-person audiences for 20 months, Trinity Rep is just now resuming live performances.

In the interest of public health and safety, the theater will not have collection buckets at this season’s performances. Instead, the public can trigger the matching grants by contributing to Trinity Rep online at www.trinityrep.com/match or by texting SCROOGE to 44-321. Through this matching challenge, their donations will benefit Trinity Rep’s artistic, education and community programs, as well as the Food Bank.

“COVID-19’s impact is still being felt across the state. The need remains high at food pantries and meal sites as people cope with the economic effect of the pandemic. Arts organizations that rely on ticket sales are still struggling to recover from the loss of live performances last year. Our matching grants will enable people to double the impact of their donation to Trinity Rep."

- Neil D. Steinberg, Foundation president and CEO

“We are thrilled that Trinity Rep is able to return to live performances of “A Christmas Carol” this year, and deeply grateful that the Rhode Island Foundation will match gifts to Trinity with donations to the Food Bank, amplifying the positive message of the show and supporting two essential nonprofit organizations in our state,” said Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff.

“’A Christmas Carol’ is a story about discovering generosity and hope as personal salvation, and our partnership with the Food Bank is also about those values. For the last fifteen years, our audiences have opened their hearts to their neighbors. I'm beyond thrilled that this important tradition can continue this year,” said Trinity Rep Artistic Director Curt Columbus.

This is the second year of this philanthropic partnership. As Trinity Rep faced the prospect of no in-person performances in 2020, and the Food Bank faced the loss of those contributions from audiences, the Foundation stepped in to help, establishing a $60,000 Food Bank matching challenge.

About the Rhode Island Community Food Bank

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank has been distributing food to thousands of struggling Rhode Islanders each month through its statewide network of 150 member agencies including food pantries, meal sites, shelters, emergency distribution programs and senior centers. Last year, the Food Bank distributed 15.1 million pounds of food, a 9 percent increase over the previous year. The Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. For more information, visit www.rifoodbank.org.

Trinity Repertory Company

Rhode Island’s Tony Award-winning theater, Trinity Rep has created unparalleled professional theater for and with its community since its founding in 1963. Trinity Rep strives to facilitate human connection and has been a driving force behind the creativity that fuels and defines the region for more than 50 years.

Trinity Rep is committed to reinventing the public square and inspiring dialogue by creating emotionally-stimulating live productions that range from classical to contemporary and innovative education programs for all ages and abilities. Its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” has brought families together for more than four decades and made memories for over a million audience members.

Rhode Island Foundation

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $68 million and awarded a record $87 million in grants in 2020. Since its centennial five years ago, the Foundation has awarded more than $284 million in grants and has raised more than $328 million. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.