I love this festive time of year! The temperatures drop and we don our sweaters and UGGs. We enjoy yuletide carols, the warmth of blazing fires, and mugs of steamy hot chocolate. We begin to prepare for reunions and celebrations with family and friends. For my family, the holidays mean potluck Thanksgivings with blended and expanding families, traditional Swedish smorgasbords overflowing with herring, cheeses, summer sausage, pickled beets; and lighting the menorah. For the Ebell family, it means service and gifts to those in need; seasonal song and afternoon tea; artisans and shopping; friendship, food and entertainment. It is a time of gratitude, giving and gathering.
A TIME OF GRATITUDE: This year, as we approach Thanksgiving and reflect on our good fortune, I am particularly grateful to all of you – the bold, talented, accomplished and generous women (and a few men) who have pledged a commitment through membership to our 128-year-old history and to our future. I am grateful for the time and expertise you share as Board members, chairs, committee members, and program attendees. I am grateful for The Ebell’s talented and dedicated staff led by our Executive Director, Stacy Brightman, whose leadership, intelligence, creativity, non-profit experience and work ethic have brought renewed energy, greater public visibility and additional resources to our organization. I am so grateful for the Ebell, where “Herstory” is made and celebrated.
A TIME OF GIVING: Giving is also part of the season and has always been part of the Ebell story, whether through member contributions of time, service, philanthropy or financial donations. Although dues, club activities and rentals provided significant sources of revenues in the early years, fundraising was also critically important. In the 1928 Ebell Yearbook, just after our current campus was built, President Bennett Cooke wrote: “The Benefits Parties arranged by Mrs. William J. Wilson and her committee have been brilliant affairs at which members have been proud to entertain their friends. From these parties together with the interest on endowments has been raised the sum of $19,000.” (About $254,00 today.) In the 1938 Directory, President Warmington wrote: “In considering the work that has been done and the accomplishments of the year, the highlight is undoubtedly the organization of a group to be called the Ebell Associates, organized for the purpose of raising money to materially reduce the mortgage on the campus.” The 1964 Yearbook listed 82 donors who made gifts of $500 or more, $500 being considered a large donation.
A huge and heartfelt thanks to those who have already generously donated to our 2022-2023 Annual Stewardship Campaign that was launched in October. Our financial needs are significant, as we make critical repairs to our Wilshire Ebell Theatre and plan for building upgrades and a seismic retrofit. While much of the needed funds will ultimately come from grants, our fundraising must begin at home from our own family. We are hoping for 100% participation. As the year comes to an end, I hope many of you will find it in your heart and your generous spirit to follow in the footsteps of our foremothers and join me in making a gift to this year’s Annual Stewardship Campaign. Your contributions will help to assure the survival of our beloved Ebell campus and community.
A TIME OF GATHERING: Last but not least, year-end is a time for gathering, with family, loved ones and friends. And what better place to congregate and celebrate than within the elegant halls of The Ebell? I invite you once again to join me in December for great fun, food and festivities, beginning on December 7 with the popular Holiday Boutique and Luncheon once again chaired by Karlene Taylor. Enjoy our Signature Holiday Luncheon or Premium Box Lunch and find uniquely crafted treasures by local artisans, all while participating in one of our most successful fundraising events of the year.
On December 12, celebrate the joy of song and community at the Ebell Chorale Concert, the group’s first holiday performance in two years, under the baton of new conductor Yu Hang Tan. The chorale will be joined by a USC Thornton string quartet and collaborative keyboard artist Heeseong Lee. Stay after for an optional afternoon tea. Lastly, you will not want to miss our Victorian-themed Holiday Fête on December 15, that begins with a cocktail reception and a holiday performance by the Independent Shakespeare Company of LA and culminates with a holiday bash complete with spirits, food, music, and good cheer. Details can be found on our website, or if you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me. I look forward to seeing you on campus in the coming weeks.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday!