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Act One Announces Geri Wright Departure


Act One, founded in 2011 by Mac and Russ Perlich to bring students from Title 1 schools on arts field trips, announced today that Geri Wright, president and CEO for the last 4-and-a-half years, will depart from Act One at the end of December. Wright joined Act One in May 2015 and has shepherded tremendous growth for the nonprofit.

“Geri’s leadership has been instrumental to the expansion Act One has experienced over the past several years,” said Mistie Hague Weishaar, Act One board president. “Her ability to build organizational capacity through board development, a focused mission and vision, sustainable fundraising and efficient program management has established Act One as a critical partner for arts organizations, schools and libraries to bring access to the arts throughout our communities.”

From 2015-2020, Act One more than doubled the number of field trip participants to 180,000, including the 50,000 already reserved for the 2019-2020 school year. Additionally, the Culture Pass is now available in 51 Metro Phoenix and 13 Tucson libraries and includes 60 participating arts partners. Annually, Arizonans can check out more than 500,000 free Culture Passes, including passes to more than 120 performances.

For the first time ever, the number of arts organizations Act One partners with topped 80 this year, and its budget surpassed $1 million, more than double what it was in 2015 Weishaar noted.

“Geri has done a tremendous job telling Act One’s story and sharing the impact that school arts field trips have on students from lower-income families,” Weishaar remarked. “We deeply appreciate her dedication and leadership. Her financial stewardship and commitment to excellence place Act One in a great position for its next chapter of organizational development. Act One has been built for success.”

Wright notes that this is the right time to step away from Act One. “It has been my honor and privilege to lead Act One through more than half of its ‘life,’ and through such monumental growth,” she said. “I have heartfelt gratitude for the many donors, arts organizations, library partners, volunteers and teachers who have whole-heartedly embraced Act One’s mission and emphatically believe that arts should be part of every students’ education. Act One is on the right track for continued growth.”

Wright will serve as Act One’s president and CEO through December 31, 2019. On Jan. 1, 2020, Al Priem, retired CFO of Climatech Industries LLC and former board president of Act One, will step in as interim executive director, serving in this capacity, while Act One’s board of directors work to identify and name Wright’s replacement in the coming months.