Where in Carlisle does a community color run converge with children’s books, charity and ongoing support for writers, artists and musicians? With the nonprofit Charles Bruce Foundation!
Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of coming to know the leadership of this wonderful organization very well and of joining them as a new board member. At the same time, I hope that by sharing my own positive experience with the Charles Bruce Foundation, it might encourage others to seek out volunteer opportunities that interest them as well.
One cold December night just before Christmas, I attended my first meeting of the foundation as a prospective board member. It was held in a private home and involved a great dinner prepared by the founders, local artist Chad Bruce and his wife, Pat LaMarche. And they’re great cooks!
As we made introductions and enjoyed wine, I quickly took note of the diversity of backgrounds. One board member is a social worker and also serves on the board of Hope Station. A married couple in attendance shared that they volunteer often for Carlisle Arts Learning Center, as well as for other local nonprofit causes. Yet another guest played a key role in launching the Tool Library in Carlisle, and one had a financial background that she generously shares with the foundation.
The focus of discussion quickly centered on areas of need in the local community and of a combination of brainstorming and deliberation on how to most effectively lend assistance. We talked of local artists and musicians who were struggling with specific medical conditions or transportation challenges.
We also discussed the children’s books that the foundation publishes and of their plans for several upcoming new publications. The books are available for purchase in several local businesses like Square Bean Carlisle and Gilded Door Oil & Vinegar, and proceeds benefit the foundation.
The meeting also focused on current and upcoming special events where the foundation participates and lends support. In fact, my own involvement came about as an unexpected and positive outcome of efforts to coordinate the Carlisle Christmas Parade and additional Santa Claus appearances throughout December. The Charles Bruce Foundation published a wonderful coloring book for the Christmas events, featuring the work of five local artists. Each book was provided free of charge, and the artists were each compensated for their work. Since that time I have become even more aware of the many ways that the foundation serves and supports local artists, as well as causes that benefit the arts.
The foundation sponsors both the annual Jason Smith Fun Run and the Jason Smith Award for Music and Kindness. The scholarship, now in its second year, is an amazing opportunity for high school seniors who most effectively demonstrate musical ability and kind character. Students should apply without delay, since the deadline is April 1.
Artists of all ages have another opportunity to participate in the Jason Smith Fun Run, also with an April 1 deadline. The Charles Bruce Foundation is seeking design submissions for the T-shirt that participants will wear in this year’s run, with a $75 prize awarded for the winning design.
Additional information about the Jason Smith Award for Music and Kindness, as well as the T-shirt contest, may be found at on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pg/JasonSmithScholarship/about.