Mount Baker Theatre gala raised more than $350,000


Mount Baker Theatre made history, according to its press release, raising more than $350,000 at its sold-out May 10 gala featuring Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers with Edie Brickell. Here's the information:

"In addition to seeing the show from the best seats in the house, patrons who paid the $500 VIP ticket price took part in preshow festivities in a pavilion in the Bellingham Towers parking lot where they were treated to dinner by Ciao Thyme, a 'lightning live auction' of seven hot items, and were entertained by a singer, a magician, and the legendary Steve Martin himself.

"Ashley Coates, a Seattle-based actor who played Eliza Doolittle in MBT Main Stage Rep's 2012 'My Fair Lady,' spoke highly of her experience with Mount Baker Theatre and sang a medley of Broadway tunes. A banjo played and signed live by Steve Martin was auctioned off to a happy and generous winner for $7,000. Additional funds were raised when John and Loi Walton announced a significant challenge to the audience - to match their leadership gift - resulting in a total of $113,000 to support the theatre.

"The Illumination Gala was designed to raise the bar of Bellingham's fundraising events, providing an elegant, black-tie night out and illuminating the mission of Mount Baker Theatre. The MBT Rep - 5 self-produced plays each year - as well as the Frank and Mary King Education Series, free space rentals for nonprofits, and high-caliber international touring acts will be enhanced by funds raised."

Executive Director Brad Burdick wrote, "So many people didn't think this was's gratifying and humbling that so many people supported us."


The Volunteer Center, Animals as Natural Therapy and the Boys & Girls Club of Whatcom County are recipients of funds totaling nearly $7,000 from Bellingham Bay Rotary, according to a press release:

"The Volunteer Center involves local volunteers in programs including Home 2 Home Furniture Bank, Retired and Senior Volunteer programs, the volunteer chore program and provides docents for Hovander Homestead Park. The $2,500 Rotary gift will specifically help fund the Home 2 Home Furniture Bank. For more information, visit .

"Animals as Natural Therapy, founded in 1999, provides a peaceful secluded place for animals and human partners, 90 percent of whom are low-income individuals, to practice healing work. The $2,500 Rotary gift will help fund the organization's New Horizons Program, serving sexually abused youth. For more information about this program, visit

"Since 1946, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Whatcom County have offered after school and athletic programs for area children. Currently, these programs exist at five sites throughout Whatcom County. The $1,900 Rotary gift will help fund capital improvements, including air conditioning and restroom improvements. For more information about Boys and Girls Clubs, visit

"Bellingham Bay Rotary annually contributes between $50,000 - $100,000 to local organizations both large and small. Over the past decade, the club has donated more than $1 million to many community service projects including the Bellingham Food Bank, Hospice House, YMCA, Northwest Youth Services and many others.

"Monies are raised through its two annual events, Brewers by the Bay, to be held July 27 at the Bellingham Depot Market and Grape and Gourmet, to be held Nov. 2 at the Silver Reef Conference Center. For more information, visit"

Out and About is published Mondays in The Bellingham Herald.

Reach Executive Editor Julie Editor at 360-715-2261 or or call 715-2261.

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