A lifelong patron of the performing arts, Doug Jones’ passion for theatre was ignited after attending his first show at Starlight as a little boy. Motivated by a desire to ensure underserved children in Kansas City have the opportunity to experience the magic of live theatre, Doug joined Starlight’s Legacy Society in 2015. Find out more about his story below:
Where did you first get your passion for theatre?
Back in 1956, when I was eight years old, my parents took me to Starlight to see the musical Plain and Fancy. I remember that night as though it were yesterday. We sat in the last row. I’ll never forget when they raised a barn on the stage at the beginning of the second act. What magic! And on that summer night, a lifelong theatregoer was born.
Over the years, I saw countless shows at Starlight with the biggest stars of the day, and I loved each show more than the next. In 1967, while a freshman at UMKC, I made a trip to New York City to see my first Broadway show. It’s been a passion ever since, but it all began on a summer night at Starlight!
What made you decide to include Starlight in your estate plans?
I wasn’t poor growing up, but my family had limited funds. Later in life, I met my future husband, John Sanger. He loved theatre even more than me, which I didn’t know was possible! John grew up on a farm near Lancaster, Pennsylvania (which is, ironically, the setting of my first Starlight musical), and also had limited funds. He would take a bus to Manhattan, sit in the balcony with a half-price ticket from the TKTS booth in Times Square and absorb as much theatre as he could afford.
When it came time to do our estate planning, we both agreed we wanted to do something that would provide young kids who would not otherwise be able to attend live theatre the opportunity to do so. John had Kansas City connections and together we decided to set up the Doug Jones and John Sanger Theater Ticket Fund, with Starlight as the primary Kansas City beneficiary.
Describe the process of designating your legacy gift to Starlight.
Though John and I had made the decision to establish the fund, we did nothing about it at first. As long as both of us were alive, we wanted the estate to be available to the surviving spouse. John passed away in 2014 and a few months after his death, I decided it was time to put the fund plans into effect.
I called my attorney and we discussed the language that would go into my estate plans for a legacy gift. The beauty of legacy giving is that the gift only goes into effect after your passing; if you end up needing those funds to cover medical or living expenses in the later years of your life and there is not enough leftover, the gift becomes moot. Legacy giving is the gift you make for tomorrow that costs you nothing today.
Would you encourage others to consider making a planned gift to Starlight?
Absolutely. After John’s passing, it was one of the most satisfying things I did. I rest better knowing that thousands of deserving children in Kansas City will someday have that same experience I had as an eight-year-old boy – a lifechanging night at Starlight.
Want to join Starlight’s Legacy Society? Learn more about our 70 for 70 Campaign here.