Local woman's birthday is all about HART

Sep 04, 2013
Photo by: Courtesy of HART The Haywood Arts Regional Theatre, founded in 1985, is a volunteer-based community theatre showcasing the talents of the people of the region. Waynesville resident Leah Hampton has launched an online campaign to raise funds for HART.

Leah Hampton is doing something unusual for her 40th birthday. She is asking everyone to ignore it. No presents, no parties, no black candles or “over the hill” balloons. Instead, she’s holding a fundraiser for the Haywood Arts Regional Theater in downtown Waynesville.

Hampton, who lives in Haywood County and works at A-B Tech College, decided a few months ago that the best way to feel good about her upcoming milestone was to take the focus off herself and try to give something back to her community.

“The whole point is to avoid the usual displays people often make at my age,” said Hampton. “I don’t want to throw a big, silly bash or get a tattoo or anything. The less attention paid to me, the better.”

Instead, Hampton wants her friends, family, neighbors and even strangers to think about supporting the arts in their community.

Through the website Indiegogo, Hampton has launched a campaign called “Forty Ain’t About Me.” The campaign seeks to raise $2,500 for Waynesville’s HART theater, enough to sponsor a production in the 2013 season.

“I didn’t want to plan a dinner or any fundraising events,” Hampton continued. “I wanted all the proceeds to go straight to HART, so I opted for an online campaign.”

Hampton also has friends and family who live overseas, so an Internet campaign gives them a chance to participate as well.

Indiegogo is a reputable crowdfunding website based in San Francisco. The site allows nonprofits and other groups to raise funds directly for a variety of projects, with almost no overhead. Indiegogo has been used for thousands of fundraisers in 196 countries; it is similar to the popular site Kickstarter.

Anyone is welcome to contribute to Hampton’s campaign. There is no minimum donation, and no matter how much money she raises, Hampton will turn over all donations to HART’s executive director, Steven Lloyd, in October. The fundraiser can be found at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/forty-ain-t-about-me.

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