Grand Island Piccadilly Players Benefit Grace Foundation

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- A group of Grand Island performers wrapped up a comedy show that benefited a local cancer foundation.

The Piccadilly Players have helped Grand Island Organizations financially for 8 years while also enjoying themselves.

"Art is a gift that we've been given and we feel to share with the community and then also to give back to the community," said one of the three founders of the Piccadilly Players, Mark Gloor.

Fellow co-founder Norbert Wenzl added, "Usually the organization will come to us. This year the Grace Foundation was a good fit for us since one of our co-founding members, Jeannee Mueller Fossberg is married to Brad Fossberg, who is currently being challenged by a cancer situation so it was really close to us."

The Grace Foundation helps anyone suffering from cancer in the Grand Island area.

The Foundation said they were thrilled to be chosen for the benefit.

Grace Foundation co-founder Lisa Willman said, "We feel very, very fortunate. We are an entirely local foundation so everybody that has a cancer diagnosis within a 40 mile radius of Grand Island or having treatment at the Cancer Treatment Center is eligible for help from Grace. So these people are all people that we've helped or we've helped their neighbors or their family. So it just helps us to outreach more to people to let us [them] know what we're all about."

Over $60,000 has been raised for the first seven organization and the Grace Foundation is hoping that number goes up a bit.

"We are hoping to get $3,000-$4,000 off of the last two weekends of shows and I think we'll be very, very close," said Willman. "It's been fun, we've been able to visit with a lot of people that maybe we wouldn't have had the chance to visit with otherwise."

After paying for expenses, there are several ways the shows make money for the foundation.

Willman said, "Proceeds from ticket sales, we do have concessions during intermission where we sell beverages as well as food and we have a donation bucket that's done very, very well over the past two weekends so those combinations of things has all added up to a very successful run."

This year's show had to be in a smaller venue because Grand Island Senior High was unavailable, but the actors in the two person show of "Greater Tuna" said that doesn't change the generosity.

"It's not so much how big the crowd is. We've been hearing about the donations that people are making at the door. Not only are they buying the ticket to get in, but they're giving even more. There's a donation bucket and we hoped people would just drop their change in there, but they're not doing that, they're dropping some big donations in there and that's what it's all about," said Dave Hulinsky.

Wendy Carlson added, "The crowds have been a little smaller, but they've been mighty. They've been mighty in giving and in giving back to us on stage."

If you would like to know more about the Grace Foundation or donate to them, click the link to their website.

If you would like more information on the Piccadilly Players, click the link to their Facebook Page.


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