Gene and Jane Bruce

Gene and Jane Bruce know what it’s like to find love in unexpected places. They found each other when Gene’s first wife passed away. They found a passion for local theatre when they saw Fiddler on the Roof in the basement of an elementary school in Manhattan, Kansas. And after chasing a 29-year military career across the nation, the Michigan boy and the Georgia girl found a hometown to call their own in South Bend, Indiana.

“Why would anyone ever want to live anywhere else?” Gene asks.

The couple came to South Bend in 1993. Gene worked as the Executive Dean at Ivy Tech and Jane ran the pharmacy at the South Bend Clinic. They continued a love for live shows, and when a friend invited them to check out the old South Bend Civic Theatre, they were smitten.

“We liked it because it showcased local talent up close and personal,” says Gene. “But what has really caught my fancy is the concept of community.”

Gene and Jane would be quick to tell you that supporting SBCT means more than financial gifts. Gene and Jane are active volunteers at the theatre. Gene is a past board member and board president. They helped move the theatre into its new and improved space, and they are ardent evangelists of the theatre’s mission.

That’s why the Bruces have chosen to work with the Community Foundation to create an endowment that supports their dear theatre family in perpetuity. Endowed funds guarantee a stream of income to support the work of the South Bend Civic Theatre and create a legacy for the Bruces that will far outlast them.

“We’re in the position we can do something,” says Gene. “And with the Community Foundation, we know it’s in good hands.”

The Bruces continue to contribute to the Civic Theatre’s endowment, growing the perpetual income that will support the theatre for decades.

Gene and Jane Bruce at the Civic Theatre Each year, as the deadlines for their required minimum distributions creep up, the Bruces ask themselves the same question that they’d challenge others to consider:

“Where are you going to put that money to do some good?” asks Gene. “To really have an impact for a long time?”

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