By Peg Degrassa | pdegrassa@delconewsnetwork.com | The Delaware County Daily Times
Published: November 22, 2021 at 9:07 p.m.

The Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation formed in 1998 to support the Upper Darby community through innovative arts and educational programs, announced the hiring of three full-time staff members in response to an anticipated expansion in programming. Expansions to the Upper Darby Summer Stage program and the Schoener Music Man Academy are planned to broaden the organization’s positive impact in the community.

Terry Tracy, president of the Foundation’s board of directors stated, “Since its inception in 1998 the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation has made more than 900 grants that exceed a total of $2 million to support extracurricular arts and educational activities in Upper Darby Township. In addition, both the Schoener Music Man Academy and Upper Darby Summer Stage are poised for significant growth, and the increased operational support should benefit all of UDAEF’s projects.”

Harry Dietzler will serve as the organization’s new full-time executive director. In that position, he will be responsible for the supervision of programs and staff, as well as overseeing marketing and fundraising. Dietzler will also supervise the Upper Darby Summer Stage program which, pending an expected agreement with the township and Upper Darby School District, will be part of the umbrella of arts programs managed by the Foundation. Dietzler is the co-founder and original executive director of the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation, He created the Gala fundraisers that led to more than $1 million in grants disbursed in his ten years as executive director. Most recently, Dietzler served as executive and artistic director of the award-winning Summer Stage program.

Jennifer Schoener will join Harry as a full-time staff member in the newly created position of director of creative educational programming. She will be responsible for developing and implementing educational and arts programs, community outreach, managing all Schoener Music Man Academy programs, developing and managing partner programs, overseeing fundraising and community events, and coordinating the UDAEF Service Club, and coordinating promotional and outreach events. Schoener previously served as the part-time Executive Director of the UDAEF. She is also the founder of the Schoener Music Man Academy, which is celebrating ten years of summer music education programming and was recently included among the Foundation’s arts and educational programming. The Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of the Brad Schoener Memorial Fund, created in memory of her late husband Brad, a beloved 25-year music teacher in the Upper Darby School District.

Thomas Pack will serve as the Foundation’s chief operating officer with responsibilities that include maintaining the daily operations of the organization, establishing schedules and calendars for programs and staff, and managing foundation’s finances. Pack previously worked on the grant-making side of the non-profit field, and on the operational side as a management consultant for several Delaware County based start-ups and non-profits, including working for UDAEF in a consulting capacity. Prior to that, Pack worked for three years at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute], most recently as director of student programs where he managed a large, nation-wide, educational programs department.

The Foundation has raised considerable funds to prepare for this growth. This past summer, UDAEF raised $500,000 for Upper Darby Summer Stage as the first phase of its fundraising campaign for the program. 100 percent of that funding will go directly to Summer Stage’s programming and operational costs. UDAEF has also announced that it has obtained a verbal commitment from an as yet anonymous donor several hundred thousand dollars to support increased arts and educational programming.

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