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Joshua M. Freeman Foundation receives $4,000 grant

The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation is pleased to receive a $4,000 grant from the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation, the charitable arm of the Million Dollar Round Table. The grant was sponsored by Jim Durkin, Immediate Past President of the MDRT Foundation.
Founded in 1927, the Million Dollar Round Table, the premier association of financial professionals®, is a global, independent association of more than 43,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 67 countries. The MDRT Foundation was created in 1959 to provide MDRT members with a means to give back to their communities.
Jim Durkin, a certified financial planner, with Lincoln Financial Advisors in Vienna, Virginia, has been a MDRT member and foundation contributor since 1984 and has served on many foundation committees, on the Board of Trustees and as an officer. This year, the MDRT Foundation board found themselves with a budget surplus and decided to make a special grant for every board member to direct to the charity of their choice.
For Jim Durkin and his wife, Margot, the choice was the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, a fundraising arts nonprofit based in Selbyville.
The Alexandria, Virginia-based couple, who also have a home in Bethany Beach, have attended performances at The Freeman Stage at Bayside for several years and it was at one of those events when they decided to give the grant to the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, Jim said.
“We were going to the Sutton Foster concert and trying to decide what to do with this grant,” he said. “We were reading the program and saw all the other good things the Freeman Foundation does and said, ‘aha.’”
The mission of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation brings memorable performances and inspired arts education for all. In addition to The Freeman Stage, the foundation also has Arts in Education and Outreach programs. The education aspect of the foundation was appealing to the Durkins, as Margot is a retired educator, Jim said.
“There is so much more than the shows they put on,” at The Freeman Stage, he said, acknowledging many projects of the Arts in Education program, including an anti-bullying program with performing artist Lyle Cogen for elementary school students and work with Poetry Out Loud in Sussex County high schools.
“The Freeman Stage does so much in the community that would otherwise not be done. They make a real difference,” Jim said.
Margot echoed her husband’s sentiments, adding the forum the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation and The Freeman Stage gives to local artists is appealing.
“It’s not just a theater you go to see a show during the summer, it’s a community resource,” she said.
Since its inception, the MDRT Foundation has donated more than $29 million to charitable organizations serving people in 70 countries and all 50 states. The majority of these funds were donated by MDRT members and financial services industry partners. The mission of the MDRT Foundation is to increase member and industry participation, and to give funds to worthwhile charitable organizations throughout the world.
The Durkins also understand the importance of giving back to the community they are a part of. As a financial planner, people trust him to provide security for themselves and their families, and he feels an obligation to help the community, he said.
“If you want to live in a vibrant community, you have to support it,” Margot said.
And part of what they believe makes a vibrant community is the arts.
“The arts are what make life worth living,” Jim said.
The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was established in 2007 to honor Josh Freeman, the former Chair of the Carl M. Freeman Foundation, after his untimely death in December of 2006. Our mission is to partner to present memorable performances and provide inspired arts education for all, while creating opportunities to elevate the human spirit. With The Freeman Stage at Bayside, an outdoor performing arts venue located near Fenwick Island, DE, we act on that mission by providing unique arts experiences to over 50,000 visitors a year. This program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com

Pictured, from left, are Patti Grimes, the executive director of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation; Jim Durkin, sponsor of the $4,000 grant and Michelle D. Freeman, chair & president of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation.