Scholarship

Dana Helfrich Scholarship

Dana Helfrich came to Florida Studio Theatre in 1984 as an acting intern. Over the next fifteen years he found a home at FST where he could learn and grow as an artist and as a person. As an actor and teaching artist in FST's Education Department, he became a tremendous influence on the lives of hundreds of children and their families. And as a member of the Florida Studio Theatre Company, he has left an indelible mark on all of our hearts and souls.

On September 23, 1999, Dana passed away after a year-long battle with cancer. His passing saddened everyone who knew him, who worked and grew with him over the years. In honor of Dana, Florida Studio Theatre has established the Dana Helfrich Education Fund. This fund will offer under-privileged children the opportunity to participate in the Education Programs that Dana loved and that influenced so much of his life.

Dana wrote some final words just days before he died:

"I believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow, and learn, imagine, play and express themselves creatively in a place where they are accepted for who they are right now. I know now what I always thought was true, is true. Life is all about love. Love of what you do. Love of those around you. Love of who you are. The moment to seize is right now. Revel."

Dana Helfrich Scholarship Recipients:

  • Porter Lee Anderson III
  • Cole Messina Caruso
  • Kate Comer
  • Jordan Fuchs
  • Aneysia Bonner
  • Alexa Hansard
  • Tara Caruso
  • Alana Palau

To make a tax-deducible donation to the Dana Helfrich Scholarship Fund, please make your check payable to Florida Studio Theatre. Donations can be mailed to Florida Studio Theatre, attention Development Office, 1241 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.  You may also contact Melody Mora-Shihadeh, Director of Individual Giving, at (941) 366-9017 ext. 326, or by email at [email protected] for more information.

Request more information.


Two J's Scholarship

The Two J’s Scholarship Fund was established in 2011 to provide scholarship opportunities for children participating in the FST Education program, and was named in honor of two great men who influenced and gave wholeheartedly to FST: John Jacobsen and John Sandefur.

John Sandefur and his wife Tana were generous supporters of FST and our education program for many cherished years. John "retired" at 50 and moved to Sarasota where he became president of four condominium associations, was a member of Mobility Now and the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation Board, and was a trustee at the John & Mabel Ringling Museum. He was honored by the AFP as the Outstanding Philanthropist of 2008. He received the Schoenbaum Award from the Salvation Army and was recognized by Circus Sarasota for his lifetime love of the circus and his ongoing support. John Sandefur died on September 17th, 2009 and in his spirit the Two J’s Scholarship Fund was put in place.

This scholarship would not be possible without support from John Jacobsen, former Associate Producer and staff member at FST. Mr. Jacobsen first came to FST as the Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors and appeared in many productions in the following years. Throughout his tenure as the chief development officer at FST, Mr. Jacobsen was also an active member in the Cultural Executives Committee and the Professional Alliance of the Performing Arts. He has also been active and supportive of many other charities, including Big Brother/Big Sisters and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America. During his 15 years at FST, Mr. Jacobsen formed a bond with many individuals including the endearing Mr. Sandefur.

To make a tax-deducible donation to the the Two J’s Scholarship Fund, please make your check payable to Florida Studio Theatre. Donations can be mailed to Florida Studio Theatre, attention Development Office, 1241 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.  You may also contact Melody Mora-Shihadeh, Director of Individual Giving, at (941) 366-9017 ext. 326, or by email at [email protected] for more information.

Request more information.