Sara B. Ryan Endowment Fund for Arts Education

The Avalon Foundation is proud to unveil the Sara B. Ryan Endowment Fund, a dedicated endowment created to enhance and sustain the Avalon Foundation's children's programming in Easton, Maryland. This fund, established in memory of the late Sara Ballantine Ryan, will support live arts experiences for Talbot County Public School students, including performances at the historic Avalon Theatre, in-school presentations, classroom residencies, and need/merit-based access to Avalon Summer Camps and Avalon Children's Theatre.

Sara B. Ryan, a longtime resident of Talbot County, shared a deep appreciation for the arts throughout her life. Alongside her husband, Roderick (Rod) Newbold Ryan, Sara actively sought out opportunities to explore art galleries, museums, and live music and theater performances. Passionate about instilling a love for the arts, Sara generously supported programs that promoted artistic education, especially for her children, Christopher and Jonathan.

Click here for a video introduction to the Sara B. Ryan Endowment Fund.

Over the past decade, the Avalon Foundation has collaborated with Talbot County Public Schools to offer quality performances and in-classroom art support. These offerings have been made possible by generous donations from individuals as well as Talbot Arts and the Dock Street Foundation. After Sara's passing in January of 2022, her family collaborated with the Avalon Foundation to establish the Sara B. Ryan Endowment Fund in her honor. With an initial commitment of $500,000 from the Ryan family, the Avalon Foundation now has a permanent funding source to help sustain and expand children’s programming, ensuring that the community continues to benefit from high-quality arts education experiences. 

The inaugural performance supported by the Sara B. Ryan Endowment Fund is scheduled for January 22, 2024, at the Avalon Theatre. More than 300 first-grade students from Talbot County Public Schools will have the opportunity to experience "Rainbow Fish the Musical," a heartwarming production based on the beloved children's book that explores themes of kindness, sharing, helping others, and empathy.

Click here for the Talbot Spy article on the Sara B. Ryan Endowment Fund launch.

In total, this year’s Avalon Children’s Programs will help to directly impact over 3,000 students in Talbot County Public Schools with multiple performances for students in PreK-7th grade, as well as at least 40 full scholarships for the Avalon Childrens’ Theater and summer camps. With continued support from the community, The Avalon Foundation will be able to grow the Sara B. Ryan Endowment Fund to guarantee ongoing access to arts education, meet the evolving needs of the community, and capitalize on opportunities to provide enriching experiences as they arise.

For more information on contributing to the Sara B. Ryan Endowment Fund, please contact Kimberly Stevens at kimberly@avalonfoundation.org.

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