Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Super Star Volunteer: Joline Walgamott

I had hoped I'd never have to write this particular blog post. And I'm sure I'll catch hell from Joline when she reads this; I don't think she wants this disclosed, but I'm going to disclose it anyway.

It's not that I don't want to sing Joline's praises. Joline is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met, and as the Executive Director of the Empress Theatre, she has been a tireless volunteer. She has taken on an enormous job and made the Empress work. Joline and Rod have put so much of themselves into OHPAA and the Empress Theatre; much more than most of you will ever know.

Many of the folks who come to play at the Empress come to do the fun things; either to be on stage in a show, or to watch a performance. But some of us have taken on the, "its a tough job, but somebody has to do it" functions of the Empress. The Executive Director position is one of those jobs, and Joline is one of about five folks that have carried OHPAA and the Empress Theatre's water so the rest of us could have fun. Joline has put in many, many 60 hour weeks for us, and both she and Rod have sacrificed things in their personal lives to make the operation work. The Executive Director merits a salary of $100,000; Joline has been doing that work for 18 months for ... zilch.

But now the chickens have come home to roost, and I feel that I have failed Joline in my efforts to raise operating funds. You see, on Monday, Joline had to start a paying job at Discover Card in order to help support her family and recover some of the financial resources she and Rod have put into OHPAA. The financial burden of supporting OHPAA became too much for the Walgamotts. As a result, Joline will have less time available for her ED duties, and that work is going to have to be done by others. There is actually discussion of Joline stepping down as Executive Director.

I'm going to put this bluntly: OHPAA needs to raise about $250-300,000 to reach its 2008 operating goals. We need to raise about $50,000 fairly soon to maintain our production quality for the remainder of the season. Part of the goals includes salaries for about six people that carry the load so the rest of us can have fun. If you love the Empress Theatre, or if you love Joline, as I do, then click on the donate button to the left, or if you can't make a cash donation at this time, then help me to raise the money by volunteering your time to help with fund raising and marketing.

Do it right now while you're thinking about it.

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