St. George Wine Club contributes $12,500 to southern Utah Community.
Monthly socials help fund arts, education programs in Washington County.
ST GEORGE, UT – The St. George Wine Club – a registered a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – topped its first year of charitable giving to local arts and education programs. St. George Wine Club Co-Administrators, Doug and Marianne Hamilton, announced that for fiscal year 2016-2017, which ended on June 30, the club returned a total of $12,500 to the greater St. George community.
Thanks to donations made by club members at each monthly social, the Wine Club was able to offer “mini-grants” (ranging from $500 to $1,000) to such organizations as the Kayenta Arts Foundation, the Elks Scholarship Foundation, the DiFiore Center for Arts and Education and ZION Music Ensembles. Additionally, the club funded a $1,000 Visual Arts scholarship at Dixie State University’s College of the Arts, established five smaller scholarships for DSU arts students, and contributed to DSU’s Raging Red Performing Group, for a total of $9,500. Another $3,000 was distributed to performing artists playing LIVE Music at socials throughout the year, bringing the total giving to the visual and performing arts and education to $12,500. This represents an increase of more than $2,500 in contributions given by the club during the prior fiscal year.
“We are elated that our members continue to give so generously to these worthy causes,” said Doug Hamilton, who, with his wife Marianne, assumed responsibility for the leadership of the Wine Club from founder Phil Loomis in August of 2014. “As a former middle school biology teacher, I’ve always been a passionate proponent of education. And Marianne has been equally passionate about the arts for more than 20 years. Prior to our move from California she was a member and chair of the Los Gatos Arts Commission, and she’s now a member of the St. George Arts Commission and the Art Around the Corner board of directors. Luckily, when we transitioned the club to a 501(c)(3) a couple of years ago, we found that our members were very willing to support both causes.”
Each month, from September through June, the St. George Wine Club gathers at various Washington County venues to socialize and enjoy live entertainment. During the past year, locales included the Kayenta Outdoor Theater, Munson Ranch in Ivins, the Elks Club, the DiFiore Center and the Eccles Center for the Arts, where DSU President Dr. Richard Williams and Provost Michael Lacourse were on hand to greet attendees. At each gathering, members share pot luck appetizers and their favorite vintages, with a requested $10 donation directed toward the event’s performers and the month’s selected charity.
“It’s a really fun, easy way to raise money for great causes,” said St. George Wine Club Board Member Jane Mankey. “As the director of the New Horizons Band, I know how much local arts and education organizations value the contributions they receive; we depend on these types of donations for our livelihood. Plus, it’s always wonderful to help community members connect with one another, especially those who are new to our area. Many lasting friendships have been created at St. George Wine Club socials.”
Added Dr. Jeffrey Jarvis, Dean of DSU’s College of the Arts, “We are fortunate to have the St. George Wine Club in the area. We have found that most club members also share our deep passion for the arts, both visual and performing. So as we meet Wine Club members, we inevitably see them at our art shows and performances. DSU, and our Art Department, have been fortunate to receive generous contributions for a scholarship fund for art students. These scholarship funds enable talented student artists – who otherwise are unable to make college work financially – to reach their dreams through our art program.”
Since its founding by Loomis and his wife in 2011 as a casual means for a few friends to gather over adult beverages, the St. George Wine Club’s member rolls have seen steady growth. At present, nearly 1,700 local residents and out-of-staters hold membership.
“With the increasing numbers of retirees discovering how wonderful St. George is, we receive requests for information about the club year-round,” Hamilton said. “Quite often, people who are considering a move to this area find us via Google before they’ve even visited St. George. They’re happy to know that there are others here who enjoy good wines and good conversation, and they’re excited to support our goal of raising funds for arts and education.”
Ernie Doose, Executive Director of the Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education, and Chief Executive Officer of Artistic Resource for Students and Teachers (A.R.T.S., Inc.), which administers the St. George Wine Club, oversees the delivery of professional arts programming to K-6 students in more than 250 schools across the state of Utah each year. Doose believes Wine Club members are making a significant impact on the arts and education landscape in southern Utah, saying, “The greatest responsibility we have as a society is to educate our children for the future, and give them a well-rounded education – including the fine arts. The St. George Wine Club is helping to make that happen.”
Currently on summer hiatus, the St. George Wine Club will resume its socials in September of 2017. For more information, visit www.stgeorgewineclub.org or the St. George Wine Club Facebook page, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The St. George Wine Club (SGWC Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit social, philanthropic and educational organization, registered under A.R.T.S., Inc.