The Lexington Children's Theatre has won a $2.5 million endowment from the W. Paul and Lucille Caudill Little Foundation to fund its Shooting Stars Youtheatre program in Elliott and Rowan Counties.
Lucille Caudill Little grew up in the Eastern Kentucky counties around Morehead and was an active artist and arts philanthropist in Lexington for most of her life. The Little Foundation has continued to be a significant supporter of the arts in Central and Eastern Kentucky since her death in 2002.
Morehead State University also received a $2.5 million endowment to fund arts scholarships.
The two grants are the largest gift ever granted by the foundation.
In a news release, LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark said the children's theater gift "sets the bar for philanthropic support of the arts in Kentucky. This investment in the Children's Theatre affirms its importance in the cultural life of Fayette, Rowan and Elliott Counties."
Shooting Stars, which has been funded by a $100,000 yearly grant from the Little Foundation, presents workshops, theater schools, in-school residencies and performances and summer programs that LCT says have reached more than 35,000 children in Eastern Kentucky.
"We are honored that the Little Foundation is entrusting Lexington Children's Theatre with Mrs. Little's legacy of providing arts education to young people," Children's Theatre executive director Larry Snipes said in the release. "The Shooting Stars Youtheatre in Rowan and Elliott counties will live on as a lasting tribute to her lifelong dedication to the arts,"