Wednesday, March 21, 2012

H-E-B Donates $150,000 to Fund Zach's Rain Garden and Children's Program

Zach Theatre

Jeff Thomas, HEB; Sylvia Cardiel, of Austin Community College; Bobbi and Mort Topfer (photo: Eric Scott)

H-E-B Grants $150,000 to Topfer Theatre Children’s Rain Garden and Theatre for Youth summer camps

H-E-B Corporation is supporting ZACH Theatre with a $150,000 leadership gift, theatre officials announced today. The Children’s Rain Garden at the new Topfer Theatre will bear the company’s name, and H-E-B will also be the title sponsor of ZACH’s Summer Camp and Scholarship Program for youth.

“We are excited to continue our support of ZACH because of the great work they do to open the minds and creative energy of our future leaders, as well as what they do to support our local economy, including employing local artists in and around Austin,” says Jeff Thomas, Senior Vice President and General Manager of H-E-B Central Texas.

The H-E-B Children’s Rain Garden, being constructed on the grounds of the new Topfer Theatre, celebrates the natural surroundings of the theatre on Lady Bird Lake, and will be an outdoor hub for child-centered family fun including special events associated with ZACH’s productions for youth. Pervious paving will allow rain water to filter into the soil, while native grasses and flowers like Prairie Blazing Stars, Tall Asters, Little Bluestems, Big and Gulf Muhlys and Chile Pequins will help filter out pollutants and provide habitat for birds, bats, and bees.

“We are thrilled to partner with H-E-B, one of our community’s most dedicated corporate citizens,” says ZACH’s Managing Director Elisbeth Challener. “Their major gift supporting ZACH demonstrates their vision and leadership for the future of our region.”

H-E-B will be the title sponsor of ZACH’s Summer Camp and Scholarship program, an 11-week summer camp in the performing arts that provides scholarships for children who otherwise could not afford to participate. The camps offer process-oriented, production-based instruction and provide opportunities to explore, develop, apply, and refine expression through performance in a supportive environment with instructors who are professional theatre artists and experienced drama teachers. ZACH’s youth programs help young people build life skills and character. For more information, go to

About ZACH Theatre Founded in 1933, ZACH is the longest running theatre company in Texas, serving more than 170,000 adults and youth annually. ZACH creates its own nationally recognized dramatic, musical and comedic productions that elevate, motivate and stimulate the human spirit under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley and Managing Director Elisbeth Challener. Now in its 78th season, ZACH continues to expand and engage with Austin, adding a third theatre to its Central Austin performance campus. The 420-seat, 26,000-square-foot Topfer Theatre will nearly double ZACH’s capacity while retaining its hallmark intimate theatre-going experience upon its completion in the fall of 2012 following a $22 million campaign. Visit for more information.

ZACH Theatre is sponsored, in part, by Applied Materials, Austin American-Statesman, Time Warner Cable, Austin News TV 36, The Dell Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Strong Events, OnRamp, The Mitchell Group Consulting, Kirk Tuck Photography and Holiday Inn, Lady Bird Lake. Also, by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division, which believes an investment in the arts is an investment in Austin’s future.

[photo by Eric Scott: Jeff Thomas, H-E-B; Sylvia Cardiel, Austin Community College; Bobbi and Mort Topfer. )

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