Lise Luttgens on the benefits of giving:

Begin a relationship that serves community

By 2018, Lise Luttgens had enjoyed quality live performances at LBC for many years when she visited friends and family in the area. When she started planning to retire to Santa Rosa by 2022, her attraction to the arts center became more compelling. The arts, and especially theater, have always been an important element in Lise’s life. She was also seeking a community for herself in her new town, and that meant forming a closer relationship with the Center – the operative word being relationship.

“We have heard a lot about “Think Globally, Act Locally.” My desire was to find an organization to invest in where I live. I had plenty of organizations to care about in Los Angeles, where I came from. Because Santa Rosa was my new home, I wanted to identify something close at hand, so I could see my gifts at work.”

“I was raised in a family where much was expected of us and being of service was a big part of that. I spent my entire 45-year career in leadership roles in nonprofits, first in health care and more recently in youth development. When you help others, whether you are sharing your time, talent, or financial resources, however large or small, you feel good. So, giving was always part of my world, personally and professionally,” said Lise.

“But giving is just the first step. Ultimately, you are initiating a relationship, and when you are in sync with an organization that aligns with your interests to care for the community, everything becomes clearer and easier. When I reached out to LBC’s CEO Rick Nowlin and Board Chair Susan Preston, I was received with unexpected warmth and possibility.”

Lise soon learned that LBC’s mission aligned with how she likes to interact and operate. Based on relationships among members, volunteers, staff, the board, and the wider community, it encourages taking care of each other and serving the community we share. She saw that LBC considers the community’s diversity by representing all genres of the arts, by providing education and adult enrichment programs that are affordable and accessible to everyone, and by establishing many and varied partnerships that result in opportunities to see art and to make art, including school and after-school programs and experiences for adults. Previously, she had only known performing arts organizations to be transactional – booking performers, selling tickets, and merchandising. “That relational, community-based dynamic made it a natural fit for me to support the Center.”

Lise joined LBC’s Board of Directors in October, 2021, to be able to spend time with the people who are making a difference and making a mark on the future. Shortly after, she made the generous decision to include the Center in her estate plan. “Once you’ve formed that relationship and experienced that welcome, your giving becomes a way of taking care of something you value.”

“I want to leave a legacy that ensures the education and community engagement programs for young people and adults in Sonoma County continue to be strengthened and grow to a wider reach. When I look to the future, I want to be sure our youth have the tools they need to live productive and joyful lives. I think our programs do this, using resources wisely and creatively. I have been amazed at the way this organization touches and helps shape lives over the long term.

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