My Dear Fellow Townies,
This year was a banner year for our organization and it’s entirely thanks to supporters like you.
So, whether you donated or came to a show or took a class or read our emails or listened to our podcast… Thank you.
It’s only with your support and the initiative of a small but mighty group of Kim Maxwell Studio (KMS) donors turned Board of Directors (including a lawyer, a songwriter, a philanthropist, a non-profit leader, a banker and a candlestick-maker… wait...) that we were able to unite KMS and The Townies Podcast under one non-profit roof.
We’d like to officially introduce you to The Townies, Inc.
We all have stories to tell (you included), whether we realize it or not. And it is the mission of The Townies, Inc. to launch these stories loudly and unapologetically into the world, because stories are what connect us. Stories show us the places where we are the same. And in a time where our differences seem to speak louder than anything else, we believe in the power of stories.
With this shiny new organizational structure and this all-star Board of Directors, we are making plans and taking strides towards more programming, more scholarships, more stories, more people served than ever before.
It’s in pursuit of these goals that we ask you to consider making a donation, joining the ranks of longtime supporters such as the amazing Kathleen Hellwitz, who generously makes a donation each month.
Let me tell you about Kathleen. Years ago, old school Townie Ms. Kathleen Hellwitz was bestowed the title of ‘Front Row Lady’ by the students of Kim Maxwell’s writing and performing classes because they adored seeing her smiling face in that front-and-center spot each night. Kathleen had long supported the arts in Ventura County and beyond for decades… and then one day she decided to take the plunge herself.
“I’d been watching Kim’s work [from the audience] for about 25 years… one day I told myself, ‘you’ve got to get off your butt and do something here,’ and I’m glad I did because I’ve never had so much fun in my life.”
Now with more than half a dozen appearances on both the Kim Maxwell Studio (KMS) stage and on The Townies Podcast, the Front Row Lady has earned herself another moniker... perhaps Hear Me Roar Lady! Kathleen is a wonder of gathered experiences with a storied past as a retired schoolteacher from Los Angeles, daughter of dysfunction and widow of an Egyptian psychologist, with an affinity for the Pacific Coast Highway. She treasures her chapters and at age 75 she finally took the stage for the first time to share them. Five years on, she hasn’t stopped.
In Kim Maxwell’s class, students like Kathleen find within themselves the confidence to share their stories. And thanks to Kim’s 25 years’ worth of experience, students are guided through a process wherein they are pushed to tell the best possible version of these stories. And the results speak for themselves.
“[This process is] the emptying of massive caverns of emotional stalactites & stalagmites… loudly spoken with no excuses… if we all had such a place to open our wings, even watch a few rogue feathers be carried away by a light breeze would we not all begin to heal?”
- Trudy Frohlich, Townie, student & supporter
We are further inspired by recent listener surveys published by StoryCorps, an organization with similar values. More than 80% of StoryCorps listeners surveyed agreed that stories “humanized social issues, events and policies,” and “reminded people of their shared humanity,” and that stories made listeners “feel connected to people with different backgrounds.” Stories have also been linked to the brain’s production of oxytocin, a chemical known to cultivate empathy in the brain.
Anything you give will directly serve our mission of connecting people through storytelling.
This year, more people than ever before stood up and shared their stories as our incomparable audience opened their hearts and minds to them.
This year, one-third of those students/storytellers received scholarships, bringing an even greater range of voices to our stage and our podcast than ever before.
This year, you helped The Townies Podcast (for which I am proud to have written the theme song) surpass 23,000 plays, and so the brave, diverse stories from our last 5 years at Kim Maxwell Studio were heard by more people than could ever fit within our four walls at once. Our reach, our impact and the spectrum of the themes we tackle through storytelling are expanding.
Please donate whatever you can to help us continue to expand our programs, our podcast and our scholarship fund to ensure that even more stories by even more people reach even more ears.
We hope to see you soon at the studio and we can’t wait for you to hear Season Two of The Townies Podcast, set to launch in February 2019. Thank you all so much for your support thus far -- we couldn’t have done any of this without you.
Secretary, The Townies, Inc.
P.S. The only thing that makes me prouder than standing on the stage at Kim’s studio is watching my kids stand there making me blush and grin and beam with pride. We say it all the time: thank god for Kim Maxwell. We can’t ever fully express what she’s brought to our lives.
Please consider joining myself and my family in supporting Kim Maxwell, The Townies, Inc. and the community Kim has created for us all.
OUR 2018/19 DONORS:
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to every single person listed below.
None of this would be possible without you.
Lily Brown & Amaury Saugrain
Kim & Jim Exon
JB & Elizabeth White
Lisa & Jackson Williams
“IT’S A SERVICE DOG”
Lauren Glass (In Honor of Ojai Youth)
Hallie & Stan Katz
William & Wendi Knox
Evan & Jill Lashly (In Honor of Ike-y Boy)
Jemi Reis McDonald
Holly & Will Woolson (In Memory of Alice McGrath)
Michael & Susan Addison
Gary & Kate Barnhart
Caryn & Charlie Bosson
Julie & Walt Hamann
James Morrison & Riad Galayini
Melissa Weber Bales
“GET OFF MY LAWN”
Nomi Morris (In Memory of Gloria Morris)
Ron & Judi Polito
Dave Ramser & Carol Cohen Ramser
Molly Jordan-Koch & Hawk Koch
Jill & Bill Shanbrom
FENCE HOPPIN’ TOWNIES
Jack & Nicole Fisher
Rain Perry & Bill Slaughter
The Townies, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Organization. Your gift is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.