ECA announces ‘Aunt Bette’s Bus Fund’ to provide transportation subsidies to local schools

Elizabeth Ruth Wallace, aka Aunt Bette.

Each year, Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA) offers a diverse line-up of Education Matinees – theatre, music, cultural, and science performances designed to engage students from PreK through 12th grade. One of the challenges many schools face in making a fieldtrip to ECA possible is transportation costs.

Thanks to the generosity of the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Living Trust, aka “Aunt Bette,” ECA is now able to help schools face that challenge by offering bus scholarships during the 2019-2020 academic year.

“Access to the arts for all schools and students in our community has been a key priority for ECA as we’ve developed and expanded our Education & Outreach programming,” said Gillian Jones, Director of Programming. “We are incredibly grateful to Aunt Bette and her family for the opportunity to establish the Bus Fund. This program allows us to welcome even more students into the theatre, where they can experience the magic of live performance and connect with professional artists.”

Elizabeth Ruth Wallace was born in Montana and raised in the Northwest. She worked for the U.S. Army, helped her husband run the family pharmacy in California, operated travel agencies and traveled the world. Shortly before she died in December 2016, the 92-year-old Wallace asked her heirs to share her estate with causes and organizations that reflected her values.

Wallace’s niece Cheri Ryan, who serves as the fund’s trustee, said the family made a concerted effort to choose locally run organizations they knew would make the best use of the money.

“ECA wouldn’t be here without the philanthropic support of visionaries like Aunt Bette who understood the power of performing arts to transform lives. We are honored to carry on her important legacy and empower youth through the arts, regardless of income or social status,” said Christina Kourteva, Director of Development, at ECA.

The development of the Bus Fund comes five years after ECA began to address financial barriers to arts participation for local schools, through the Arts for Everyone program. Since 2014, over 12,500 students have attended a performance at ECA for only $2.

Applications for Aunt Bette’s Bus Fund will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for schools demonstrating need. Approved applicants will be provided a transportation subsidy of up to $250, subject to availability, to be reimbursed following the performance.

To apply, contact Katie Newbaum, education and outreach coordinator, at or 425-275-9485.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identify before approving your comment.