Just in time for Christmas: Annoymous donor helps local group

COURTESY PHOTO | Shelter Island Educational Foundation President Charles Olton announced his group had received a substantial, annonymously-donated grant.

One Shelter Islander has the spirit of the season, extending her generosity in a big way to a cultural pillar of the community.

A board member of the Acriel Foundation, a family nonprofit organization, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently contacted the Shelter Island Educational Foundation. She donated what Charles Olton, president of the SIEF, described, as a “very large” donation to the local group, which offers what it states is “educational advancement and cultural enrichment opportunities that reach beyond the scope of a normal school curriculum.”

The donor, a Shelter Island resident, came to the organization and discussed how the money would be used. Mr. Olton said all agreed the funds would best be employed to help programs already up and running but could use a financial boost. One program receiving aid is SIEF-sponsored annual trips to the New York City Ballet performances of “The Nutcracker” for Island eighth graders, a program that has been enchanting youngsters here for more than a decade. These journeys to Manhattan cost more than $3,000 annually, Mr. Olton said.

The money will also be used to send young Islanders to Broadway musicals and dramatic performances, Mr. Olton said. One successful program is taking youngsters to attend Metropolitan Opera dress rehearsals.

The new infusion of funds will be spent over a period of five years to support and expand the programs, Mr. Olton said.

“We’ve been sending students to visit New York’s great preforming arts stages for many year,” Mr. Olton said. “The experiences are popular with participants and deepen appreciation for the arts.”