Centrum community members Jack and Bonnie Lambton are a husband-and-wife team who for twenty-two years traveled extensively as business consultants for a number of companies.
They donate to Centrum for a number of reasons.
“Centrum fulfills the Fort Worden mission of being a center for lifelong learning and transformational experiences, and it’s amazing how much one donation helps,” says Jack, who also participates as a guitarist in Jazz Port Townsend.
“For kids that come into the programs, such as the jazz program, it’s as valuable as going on a foreign exchange trip,” he says. “When you go on a foreign exchange, you meet new people and learn new ways of seeing the world, and it’s the same here.”
Scholarships that bring under-privileged and under-represented students to Port Townsend can change lives, he says. “Centrum offers week-long, total immersion workshops that don’t just provide a week-long experience, but actually change people. It’s fun to watch what happens as kids sit and listen to John Clayton, or Jeff Hamilton, or Bruce Forman. You can actually see these kids change as they watch how their role models act, and treat one another. You see them come in, and then you seem them leave with a new vista of pride and confidence, and what might be possible in music, and in their lives.”
“You can see the impact your donation has in someone’s life,” Bonnie says. “Every gift is a legacy gift way beyond the week, and way beyond ourselves as donors. Because of the way Jazz Port Townsend has grown, not everybody is accepted into the program any longer,” she adds. “So those that are accepted know how special of an opportunity it is.”
“It’s not a summer camp,” Jack notes. “It’s a special opportunity, and the people who are accepted into it know how tough the competition is to get in. So the knowledge that you were hand-selected by John Clayton, and then provided with a scholarship, means a lot.”
He encourages donors to think about giving deeply. “By giving at the Gala, or any other time of year, you provide a high-levered donation,” he says. “It’s not just the top players—the ones who we’ll be hearing on the radio for years to come—who receive scholarships. It’s also for the good players, who then get a chance to come to Port Townsend, and experience the community, and the music, and the role models, and leave with a life-changing experience. You get such a return on your donation. It’s an incredible investment in someone’s life and offers a multifaceted return to the community and to individuals.”
“It’s such a personal gift,” Bonnie says, “and each and every gift makes things happen. You can give money and see it impact people.
“Another great way to give is through estate allocation,” she says. “By making plans to include Centrum in your legacy plans. But every gift you give is also a legacy gift, because you can watch it at work in the lives of the students.
The Lambtons also point to the Centrum organization as modeling in its structure the transforming experiences that they offer Centrum community members.
“Given the focus on Fort Worden as a center for lifelong learning, and lifelong, life-changing experiences in the arts, it’s great to see Centrum as an organization itself learning and evolving, which is what they encourage people to come and do,” Jack says.
“So many times you can make a donation to a worthwhile organization, but you can’t actually watch it work, and you don’t really know what’s happening with it,” Bonnie says. “But if you give money to Centrum, you can see it work, and watch the changes in our community. It gives you a rare opportunity as a donor to see that impact one-on-one. Centrum conducts itself with total transparency, and treats its donors with respect and appreciation. And it’s not just a transparent process, but it invites your input and invites you to volunteer and be part of the process.”
“It gives you a sense of fulfillment to see your donation at work, and a sense of pride in helping to change people’s lives,” Jack says.