The Peninsula College Foundation in Port Angeles, Washington, has announced a $9 million gift from the estate of Donna M. Morris for a new performing arts center.
Morris, who died in 2014 at the age of 67, stipulated that the funds be used "specifically for the design, construction, and maintenance of a performing arts center to be located in Port Angeles, Washington," and that an advisory committee be appointed to oversee the project, with members serving as a liaison to the City of Port Angeles, Peninsula College, the Peninsula College Foundation, and local arts organizations, including the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra, the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, the Juan de Fuca Festival Foundation, and the Port Angeles Community Players. Once construction of the facility is completed, the Peninsula College Foundation, Peninsula College, the City of Port Angeles, or a nonprofit foundation established by all three will operate the center.
According to the Peninsula Daily News, Morris moved from Southern California to Port Angeles in 1993 with her lifelong friend Judith Finfrock and Finfrock's son. Finfrock, the executor of Morris' estate, told the Daily News that Morris gave to various charities, never flaunted her wealth, and wanted to ensure her love of the arts would help inspire generations of Port Angeles residents for years to come. Morris, who died of complications of Alzheimer's disease, had no children of her own.
"This is an incredibly generous gift to the citizens of our community," said retired Superior Court Judge S. Brooke Taylor, who chairs the advisory committee and is a Peninsula College Foundation board member. "It demonstrates Donna M. Morris' love of Port Angeles and her commitment to promoting the arts in our community."