Gigi’s Playhouse is a Down syndrome achievement center and part of a network of three playhouses in Wisconsin. Madison is the 30th Playhouse among 56 across the U.S. and Mexico. GiGi’s provides free educational, therapeutic, and career development programming for individuals with Down Syndrome and is 99% volunteer run with just two employees and over a hundred active volunteers.
According to Kelly Antonson, Site Director GiGi’s Playhouse Madison, “We have a really robust and generous community that helps us stay afloat and allows us to run our free programming. Although, of course, it’s not free to run, it is always going to be free to our families. So, it’s really important to us that through the use of our volunteers and the funds our community donates, we are able to provide this life-changing therapy for families.”
Programming is offered in three sessions throughout the year and without charitable funding, GiGi’s would not be able to continue training volunteers, purchasing resources and conducting the outreach necessary.
“The funding that we’ve received from Wispact is key because it also allows us to make sure that we are able to continue funding those programs. So, the more funding we have coming in, the more people we can serve,” Antonson added.
Feedback from families continues to show that GiGi’s one-on-one programs, literacy and math tutoring have changed their child’s life because they’re not getting everything they need in the schools. Programs have enabled students with Down Syndrome to excel and skip grade levels in the reading and math.
“Wispact has been a valuable partner not only from their financial support, but also by helping support family members with Special Needs Trusts going forward. We’re just incredibly grateful,” Antonson concluded.