Reston-based philanthropists establish endowed fund to ensure continued growth and sustainability of Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts
Vienna, Virginia (October 18, 2016) – Dr. Shashikant “Shashi” Gupta and Mrs. Margaret Gupta have given a $1 million gift in support of Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts (“Wolf Trap Institute”), a program of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.
The donation marks the largest individual gift in the 35-year history of Wolf Trap Institute, a recognized leader in early-childhood arts-integrated learning and instruction. In addition to providing ongoing operating support, the Guptas’ gift establishes the Gupta Fund for Early Learning Through the Arts, an endowed fund to support the continued growth and sustainability of Wolf Trap Institute.
The Guptas are co-founders of Apex CoVantage, an international technology company based in Northern Virginia. After many years attending performances at Wolf Trap, Mrs. Gupta joined the Foundation’s Associates Board in 2013 and the couple were increasingly drawn to Wolf Trap Foundation’s education programs. Mrs. Gupta visited area classrooms to see Wolf Trap’s professional Teaching Artists in action, and subsequently worked with Wolf Trap Foundation to underwrite Wolf Trap Institute services in Rajkot, India, at a school supported by the Guptas’ family foundation.
“Shashi and I are proud to support Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts,” stated Mrs. Gupta. “The importance of quality early childhood education cannot be overstated, and the arts are one of the very best ways to reach children at a young age, setting them up for success in school and in life. Wolf Trap Institute fills a critical need by giving children of all backgrounds an extraordinary educational start.”
The goal of Wolf Trap Institute is two-fold: to prepare young children for a lifetime of learning by giving them rich experiences in the arts, and to empower early childhood teachers to engage students in active learning through arts-integrated strategies. To achieve that goal, Wolf Trap Institute trains professional Teaching Artists – musicians, dancers, actors, and puppeteers – to bring innovative strategies for learning through the performing arts to schools and programs serving children from infancy through kindergarten. Wolf Trap Institute’s work is scaled nationally, with 16 affiliated organizations and numerous partners in 30 states that help deliver arts-integrated education opportunities to 60,000 teachers, parents, caregivers, and students annually.
The Guptas’ gift follows a year of major growth and accomplishment for Wolf Trap Institute. Building on a body of evidence that shows that the arts can positively impact learning across subject areas, earlier this year, independent research funded by the U.S. Department of Education demonstrated that one Wolf Trap Institute program significantly improved students’ math outcomes. In addition, the research validated Wolf Trap Institute’s approach to high-quality professional development for teachers. In March, as part of its ongoing work to expand its network and services nationwide, Wolf Trap Institute welcomed its newest affiliate in San Antonio, Texas.
“On behalf of Wolf Trap Foundation, I extend a sincere thanks to Shashi and Margaret for this important act of philanthropy,” stated Arvind Manocha, President and CEO of Wolf Trap Foundation. “Because of the Guptas' extraordinary generosity, Wolf Trap Institute will be able to reach more children and teachers in more communities, and deepen its commitment to high quality learning through the arts.”
The Guptas join a growing list of Washington-area philanthropists who have made leadership gifts in support of the Foundation’s education programs, including David Rubenstein and Wolf Trap Foundation Board Chair Dan D’Aniello and his wife Gayle.
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the national park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of America’s outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Trap’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.
Michelle Pendoley, Director, Public Relations
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