Member Stories

Donor Spotlight: Jeff Freude

Jeff has been supporting Des Moines Performing Arts for almost the entire 29 years he’s lived in Des Moines. His believes that Des Moines Performing Arts not only adds texture to his life, but is the “glue” that attracts and keeps people here.

What do you love most about Des Moines Performing Arts? The tremendous variety of experiences that I can have there. And the people who work at DMPA are amazing and very good at what they do.

Why do you think Des Moines Performing Arts is an important member of the Des Moines community? It makes Des Moines a “bigger” community. If I think about what Des Moines would be like without DMPA, I feel as though I would be seeking that added dimension somewhere else.

What is your favorite Des Moines Performing arts memory or experience? Having Idina Menzel walk out into the crowd and stand immediately behind me. I was nervous she was going to ask me to sing! 

Donor Spotlight: Leslie Foshe

Leslie has enjoyed attending The Dance Series performances as a Season Ticket Holder for years, and she decided to become a Des Moines Performing Arts Donor to help ensure that the series can continue.

What do you love most about Des Moines Performing Arts? I can see big, straight-from-Broadway shows here, but at the same time I have the opportunity to see amazing dance performances and intimate concerts that blow me away.

Why do you think Des Moines Performing Arts is an important member of the Des Moines community? Every time I come to a show, I like that I see some familiar faces, and hundreds of completely new faces. I think DMPA is important because it brings Des Moines together and gives us great shared experiences.

What is your favorite Des Moines Performing arts memory or experience? My favorite memory was meeting some dancers after one of The Dance Series performances. They taught me a few new moves!

Donor Spotlight: Tim Baudler

Tim isn’t a Des Moines native, let alone a resident, but he supports Des Moines Performing Arts because he understands that the arts not only build the foundation of our society, but also feed the soul.

What do you love most about Des Moines Performing Arts? The quality of the shows you get in Des Moines, for the size of the city itself, is AMAZING. You’re getting some of the same shows that cities like LA are getting, or just got this year!

Why do you think Des Moines Performing Arts is an important member of the Des Moines community? Because it helps facilitate the arts, which keep society moving forward, which keep people’s true colors showing, and which keep us young at heart. The arts move us spiritually and bring out the best in all of us.

What is your favorite Des Moines Performing arts memory or experience? When your staff made my WICKED Celebration of Life such a memorable experience! Getting to meet the cast and have my name in lights the night of the show was so incredible. I will never forget it! About 30 of my closest friends and family members joined me for a night at my favorite Broadway production. We celebrated all I've overcome in life over the last 25 years. 

Donor Spotlight: Nicole Hocamp: 

Nicole – a lifelong Des Moines area resident – is a “theater addict” who enjoys the high-quality live performance opportunities Des Moines Performing Arts provides. She has been a donor for 10 years because she wants to make sure the experiences she has here are accessible to new audiences and other theater addicts, alike!

What do you love most about Des Moines Performing Arts? I love the quality and variety of the different performers and productions you bring to Des Moines. 

Why do you think Des Moines Performing Arts is an important member of the Des Moines community? I think DMPA is important because the arts are necessary for a complete community. Without the arts, life would be unfulfilling.

What is your favorite Des Moines Performing Arts memory or experience? My favorite DMPA memory was the backstage tour I got to take. I work at a school and the music teacher arranged for the elementary choir to take a tour. I think I was more excited than the kids to see everything. 

Shayla and Joel From: A Simple Bequest
Joel and Shayla From were surprised at how easy it was to include Des Moines Performing Arts in their estate plan. In fact, "it couldn't have taken more than two or three minutes with our attorney in his office," says Shayla From.

The Froms were already in the process of updating their will when they decided to include a gift to Des Moines Performing Arts. Their attorney said the bequest was easy to implement, and the Froms feel great about their decision.

"The choice to include Des Moines Performing Arts in our will was obvious to us," Shayla explains. "Des Moines Performing Arts elevates the cultural opportunities in central Iowa. They're also very committed to their education program. Being a former educator, I love seeing how Des Moines Performing Arts makes such a tremendous effort to provide affordable, quality theater experiences for kids."

Shayla also believes Des Moines Performing Arts serves an ambassador for Des Moines and the state of Iowa. "So many traveling companies come here, and many have never experienced Iowa before," she says. "They see the professionalism of Des Moines Performing Arts staff, how educated Iowans are and what an appreciative audience we are. It's remarkable, and it makes a lasting impression."

Doug and Debbie West: The Gift That Gives Back — to You
Doug and Debbie West have been fans of Des Moines Performing Arts since its beginning. "When Des Moines Performing Arts first opened its doors, we were on their doorstep," jokes Debbie.

After taking their kids to see many shows at Des Moines Performing Arts over the years, the Wests now enjoy bringing their grandchildren to Des Moines Performing Arts' Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Family Series. The couple also attend productions of the Willis Broadway Series, the Des Moines Symphony and The Dance Series. "There isn't much that goes on at Des Moines Performing Arts that we don't participate in," says Doug.

The Wests have supported Des Moines Performing Arts financially for many years. Recently, the couple extended their support with a charitable gift annuity.

"I'm in the financial planning business," Doug explains, "and I've always thought charitable gift annuities were good vehicles for financial planning and estate management. They allow you to get a current tax deduction plus a stream of tax advantaged income with attractive interest rates. There's also an eventual value to the charity down the road. It's a one-stop arrangement that offers many benefits as opposed to a straight gift."

"A charitable gift annuity is another good tool for financial planning," says Debbie. "And I really appreciate the idea that it will provide a benefit for Des Moines Performing Arts after we're gone—so they can continue the excellent programs we've shared with our kids, grandkids and friends over the years."

Des Moines Performing Arts
aspires to be a national leader in presenting the performing arts by engaging the Midwest in world-class entertainment, education, and cultural activities.
  • Des Moines Performing
    Arts Partnerships:
Des Moines Performing Arts is a private 501 (C) (3) not-for-profit corporation presenting the performing arts to Iowa and the surrounding states. It is the presenter of major Broadway and educational touring companies, performers and groups, and is the performing home of many local and regional groups, including the Des Moines Symphony. Events, dates, times, performers and prices subject to change without notice.