Since she was ten years old, Diane Dixon was devoted to the performing arts. She started the Theater Guild of New Jersey, promoting unknown actors and giving undiscovered playwrights the chance to see their work performed. When Diane died in 2001, her will established the Diane Dixon Fund at the Community Foundation to continue her lifelong work of bringing the arts into people’s lives.
Her good friend, Lydia Kugler, was executor of Diane’s will. “The Community Foundation was incredibly responsive,” Lydia says. “I sat down with them and talked about Diane’s love for theater. They were genuinely interested in getting to know what Diane was all about. They’d say, ‘We’d like your input; this is what we propose to do with Diane’s gift.’
“They were very forthcoming with information, and I can’t say enough about their willingness to keep me involved. I get calls on a regular basis to keep me updated on how Diane’s fund is doing, and where they’re making their grants.
“Diane was born and raised in Robbinsville,” Lydia says. “She was instrumental in seeing that the new Senior Center there would have a stage for performances and would welcome the arts. When the Foundation is giving grant money to the Robbinsville High School drama club, it’s fitting to Diane’s memory that she’s still involved in Washington Township in the arts and the plays. And she is smiling about that, I can tell you right now.
“I think the Community Foundation is incredibly sensitive to what I believe Diane’s intent would be. Diane gave some money to several other organizations directly, but in many instances there were no specifics from them, nor any correspondence with me, as executor, about how the money was to be used. By contrast, the Community Foundation is keeping me apprised of everything that is going on with the funds and where they are using the grant money.
“Diane Dixon wanted to make a name for the arts in New Jersey. She didn’t have time to do all that on her own, but the Community Foundation is going to make sure that it happens.”