Since I have financial security and no dependents, it is easy for me to donate money to worthy causes. It was not until middle-age, however, that I realized that doing it while I am still alive gives me the pleasure of seeing the results.
In addition to general, unattached support for organizations that work for social betterment, I make some of my donations more specific, to areas which are of interest to me, and particularly to areas which are overlooked by other funding sources and where my contributions can perhaps exert some influence. That is the intent of the David Edney Fund for Theatre with the Saskatoon Foundation.
Arts funding generally suffers when money is tight, but I believe strongly that the special insights of creative artists are essential for a healthy society. Since I have participated in drama in various capacities for a good part of my life, and I know something about it, that is the area of the arts that I support most.
My fund aims to assist Saskatoon theatres to put on productions that are outside their ordinary fare, that are unusual in some way and that may be somewhat risky for them. There is certainly a place for commercially successful plays that draw large crowds, but companies should also be able to present substantive works that challenge audiences. It is important that we get to see new Canadian works that help us to understand ourselves and the society we live in, but government grants are directed largely to that repertoire. We should also be able to see how the world is viewed by people in other cultures, people who are different from us, people from other times and other places. Openness to others has always been a Canadian characteristic. Now that others are increasingly seen as a threat, the arts ability to develop cross-cultural understanding is all the more valuable.
By supporting theatre companies when they embark on those kinds of adventurous projects, I hope that my fund will enrich the cultural life of Saskatoon by opening horizons and fostering diversity.