Theatre for the World

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

This post comes to us from Brian Schultz, creator of Theatre for the World.

theatre for the world


There are many people who have inspired me over the years, but if you are looking for someone famous who led me on the path to give back it is the late, great Harry Chapin.  I loved his music, and still do, but even more so, I loved his passion to use his gift to make this world a better place. There is no reason, that in a world of abundance, we should have people starving or dying from hunger or thirst.  Clean water is accessible for the people of Africa, we just need to lend a hand.

What really inspires me is the people I have met, that fit into the “Ordinary Joe” category.  Wonderfully, talented, gifted people in their own way, that decided to give back.  That’s why I was compelled to start the group.  I am certain that God planted this seed in me, but it wasn’t until I hit my thirties that it really sunk into my brain to step out in faith and do something. I am humbled and inspired to have such a loyal group of members willing to donate their time, talent and even money to make each show a success.  Some have participated in big ways all ten years. We’re not famous, none of us, but that’s what makes it an even better story.  Why not us?  Why can’t God use our little theatre group in Ohio? Throughout the Bible and history, God has proven he can use anyone.  Why shouldn’t we use our “gifts” to make a difference in our own way?

We started small, but we’re growing in numbers and audience members each year. We would still be considered small in the eyes of many, but regardless, I know we are making a difference locally, and, thanks to The Water Project, internationally.  Just average folks who decided to use their gifts collectively to be God’s hands in this world.  What I didn’t realize with all of this, is the impact our giving would have on our souls.  Many of us have done theatre in the past, and for the most part, we have all had wonderful experiences, but I think I can speak for the entire group when I say, “This is different!”  We think mission first and we give our absolute best to God.  We realize our limitations, but we give it all and He does the rest.  It is a recipe for success every time.  Not only has it shown in donations each year, but we feel God is with us every step of the way.  What a blessing!

Our group began as a mission project for the local food pantries.  In year one, we simply collected food and monetary donations to help with the local Anthony Wayne Food Pantry near Toledo Ohio.  After a successful first show, we added a second local pantry to the mix.  Two years of success led us to up the ante and think even larger.  We loved helping our local area, but we set our goals higher.  A goal that, with God’s help, would allow us to do something to make a difference internationally.  We began a reserve of 15% of our monetary proceeds from each show, so that we might dig a well in Africa one day.  I had learned of the need in church, but was very hesitant to pick an actual organization to work with to accomplish our goal until I knew we could really raise enough money to fund a well. We have since added a third food pantry to our mix while continuing our path to help in Africa.

As time passed, we  reserved just over $4,500 to seed our fund.  I researched many different organizations, but none touched me in the way The Water Project did.  The 100 percent accountability with our funds really helped me make the decision, but upon further research, I discovered that, like our group, this all began as a Christian mission project. I also discovered that The Water Project, like our group, was non-denominational and had worked with various organizations and churches over the years.  A perfect fit for us.  We began as a group primarily from the Waterville United Methodist Church and are so very grateful for the unwavering support of our congregation each and every year. Amazingly though, we now have members and volunteers representing many denominations with one thing in mind….mission first.

I did so much research trying to find the right project for us.  Since we had been promising folks we were saving for a well in Africa,  I wanted to be sure we were certain the money was going to be used in the appropriate way.  Over the years, I had researched often concerning wells and costs of wells and there were so many variables in the price.  When I found The Water Project and realized all the similarities between our groups,  I knew we had to set our goal at $12,000 to fully fund a well.  We decided that our tenth anniversary show was the perfect opportunity for us to think outside of the box.   We realized the $12,000 was certainly a lofty goal and we’d be stepping out in faith, but somehow we just had a feeling we’d get there.  Get your hopes up, right?  We might not be able to do it alone, but based upon experience, we were certain God could do it.

After all the research, I also felt like we couldn’t wait any longer.  This water could save lives and change a community, provide hope for the future. It needed to be done soon and waiting for our group to accumulate enough money reserving just 15% of our proceeds was taking far too long.  For one year only, in celebration of our tenth anniversary, we decided to flip our donation figure so we donated only 15% to the local pantries and collected 85% for our well project.  People responded.

We owe much gratitude to the Waterville Rotary for stepping up in a large way to help us reduce the amount of money needed by donating $2,500. We also reached out to the community for a few silent auction items at intermission and got the Sunday School kids involved with making small wells to be filled with change.  Our cast all participated in an altered version of The Water Challenge which I read on your website.  Instead of using your bands, I had my son make bands with his rainbow loom and we challenged the congregation to take the challenge and donate that money during our show.  We do not charge admission.  It is all free-will offering.  Since we knew the pantries had been relying on our donations each year, we didn’t want to let them down either.  We asked our congregation and the community to really help the local pantries by bringing in some extra food this year.  They nearly doubled the amount of food donations we typically see for a show.  Unbelievable!

As everyone can now see on our page, we reached our goal of $12,000, but we have continued to ask for donations.  What The Water Project doesn’t know yet, is that we also exceeded our goal.  I just received news recently that we will be receiving a grant for $3,000 from the Zion Lutheran Church in Waterville in mid-October to help us complete our project and provide maintenance for the life of our project.

When God does things, he does them in a way that is far larger than we could ever fathom. We are so very grateful!


Thank you to Brian and the Theatre for the World community for rallying together and making clean water a reality for so many. We’re so grateful for your motivation, inspiration and moving message. We couldn’t do this without you!

Want to learn more about starting your fundraising campaign? Start here!

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