The Artistry of Giving
By Lisa C. Bailey
The Alabama Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals confirmed that Jane Stephens Comer has mastered the art of giving when the organization named her its 2009 Philanthropist of the Year. Her most recent masterpiece for UAB is a gift of $5 million, which has been used in partnership with the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center (ASC) to create a cultural arts education center known as ArtPlay, which opened in a restored building a few blocks from UAB’s campus in January 2011 (see the article here).
“A few years ago Jane shared with us her life dream to create a unique center for the arts where young people would have the opportunity to create performances, attend programs by world-class performing artists, and forge collaborative relationships with UAB, the ASC, and other community organizations,” UAB president Carol Garrison says. “Her dream came together because of this extraordinarily generous gift for which we are so grateful.”
Comer was instrumental in founding the ASC’s Kids’ Club Series, an annual series of shows designed to entertain, educate, and inspire children through the performing arts. “The Alys Stephens Center has been one of the highlights of my life, and the joy that the Kids’ Club Series has given to me led us to this endeavor,” Comer says. “It’s very exciting, and it promises to be very original.”