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Arts Plaza Matching Gift Challenge

June 25, 2024

We are excited to announce the generous challenge gift from Ed and Susan Maier of $4,000,000 toward the Arts Plaza. Mr. and Mrs. Maier have proposed that their challenge gift be used as a “one-to-one matching fund” to create a “circle of friends” to name the Arts Plaza in honor of Dennis and Graci McGillicuddy. All pledges towards the “McGillicuddy Circle of Friends” received after April 1, 2024, will be matched dollar for dollar.

The challenge gift serves to help complete Phase 1 of the Arts Plaza project which includes construction of the 8-story building, opening the parking garage, and opening three stories of Artist Housing. The Ed and Susan Maier generous match challenge fund will position FST to break ground on schedule in December 2024.

Ed and Susan Maier had previously contributed $2 million towards the Arts Plaza, and the Maier Cabaret will be named in recognition of that gift. The Arts Plaza was originally named The Mulva Arts Plaza in recognition of the leadership gift made by Pat and Mary Mulva. However, the Mulvas informed the theatre in January that they were going to relocate to Texas to be closer to family. On March 4th of this year, they surprised everyone at FST’s 50th Anniversary Shindig by announcing that they were donating the naming rights of the building and the Mainstage Theatre back to FST.

“I’m not sure Susan and I would have done this had the Mulvas not given up the naming opportunity,” said Mr. Maier “We wanted to make sure that Dennis and Graci received the proper recognition for all that they have done for Florida Studio Theatre for the last 33 years.”

In response to the Maiers’ commitment, the McGillicuddys said, “First of all, we want to say directly to Ed: ‘Thank you for your selfless philanthropy. Your gift represents such a deep commitment to and belief in Florida Studio Theatre and its significant contribution to making our community the wonderful place that it is.’ When we first learned that Ed chose to have his leadership gift reflected in naming the Arts Plaza after us, we both were brought to tears and felt a deep sense of humility. FST has been such an integral part of our lives here in Sarasota and to be honored in such a way has touched us to our core!”

For more information or to make a contribution in support of the Maier Match Challenge for the “McGillicuddy Circle of Friends” contact Melody Mora-Shihadeh, Director of Individual Giving, at (941) 366-9017 at extension 326, or by email at Melody@floridastudiotheatre.org.