Well-known philanthropists Jay and Patty Baker are challenging the Naples community to a holiday giving campaign to support The Naples Players – and all in the name of their beloved dog Kizzie.
A frequent visitor to The Naples Players, Gulfshore Playhouse, and ArtisNaples (all arts organizations the Bakers support locally), Kizzie sadly passed away in September. Kizzie’s love for the arts will make an impact this winter, as Jay and Patty have pledged $50,000 in matching funds to The Naples Players from now until December 31st.
“We are so honored that Jay and Patty chose The Naples Players to celebrate Kizzie’s memory,” said Executive Artistic Director Bryce Alexander. “COVID has severely impacted the arts, and ideas like these are what will keep the arts alive in our community.”
In fact, The Naples Players is looking at a loss of more than $1.4 million since the pandemic began in March. Despite this loss, the organization has soldiered on to offer COVID-friendly cultural opportunities around the community – including a drive-in movie series, performances in Cambier and Baker Parks, and even virtual performances. In fact, the TNP KidzAct education program has served more than 1,400 students virtually over the summer, when most other local camps were canceled.
Several programs dedicated to wellness were created to serve adults living with anxiety or loneliness due to the pandemic, as well as programs to help students with disabilities cope with the major changes in lifestyle.
Patty Baker and Kizzie
“None of these programs will offset the loses we’ve experienced from canceled shows,” explained Alexander. “But as an organization committed to the community, we knew now was the time to make a difference. The community built us up, and we wanted to ensure we up-held our end of the bargain.”
Now, Naples will help to ensure these programs can continue by making donations to The Naples Players that will be matched dollar for dollar. To participate in the match, visit our donation page here. As an additional nod to Kizzie Baker’s memory, TNP is encouraging donors to share photos of their pets this holiday season on social media with the hashtag #KizzieSavesTheArts