the California Center for the Arts, Escondido
A performance at the the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Photo via the center’s Facebook

The California Center for the Arts, Escondido Foundation, received a record-setting $1 million pledge from the David T. and Dorris E. Staples Foundation.

The funds will be placed under the stewardship of the CCAE Foundation’s endowment to develop a theatrical conservatory and elevate the importance of the arts in North County San Diego, according to a news release.

“The challenges our artistic communities faced over the past few years have made it more important than ever to ensure the future of arts programming,” said Sara Matta, center foundation chair who also serves as the chair of the CCAE Board of Trustees. “We are grateful that the Staples Foundation chose to honor Dorris’ legacy by ensuring that CCAE will continue to fulfill its mission of bringing people together to discover, create and celebrate the visual and performing arts.”

The gift will support The Dorris Staples Theatrical Conservatory and hands-on experiences through classes and original productions for aspiring arts professionals without regard to their socioeconomic status.

“We are seeing the power of philanthropy in action with this generous gift from the Staples Foundation,” Matta continued. “Through this endowment, the Charitable Trust has agreed to underwrite The Dorris Staples Theatrical Conservatory and one original production each year, starting with the world-premiere production of Witnesses.”

“Witnesses” is the true story of five Jewish teens who recorded their experiences in diaries as their world descended into World War II.

The Staples Foundation is a private family foundation established in 1996 to support education, youth and students, according to Cal State San Marcos.