augusta free press news

Wayne effort taps into school, community spirit

The trend in political fundraising has been to tap into the power of the $10 and $20 and $50 donor. it takes a lot more of those size donations to add up, but they add up, and as they add up, the people who buy in add a weight to the momentum of the effort that they support far beyond their dollar power.

Gayle Mapstone, new to the board of directors of the Wayne Theatre Alliance last year, took note of the new trend in political giving and wondered if there wasn’t something to be applied to the ongoing effort to raise money for the renovation of the Downtown Waynesboro landmark.

“I felt like we needed to find a way to get the average citizen involved and to both increase the level of community pride for the project as well as find a way to make it comfortable for people to contribute who don’t have thousands and thousands of dollars to give, but they want to be a part of it, and their $25 or $50 is just as significant to the success of the project as someone else’s $1,000,” said Mapstone, who on her own initiative spent a snowy weekend in February writing and mailing letters to members of her graduating class of 1969 at Waynesboro High School encouraging them to contribute toward a class gift to the Wayne that is closing in on reaching a $10,000 goal.

The success there has in turn led to a fundraising campaign that the Wayne Theatre Alliance is calling Class’n the Wayne, with several class captains representing graduating classes at WHS, Wilson Memorial High School, Stuarts Draft High School, and local alums from the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech soliciting their classmates.

Augusta Free Press Publishing has pitched in to the effort. AFP Publishing donated web-design services to launch a new website for the Wayne Theatre Alliance and a page at that serves as the Internet home to the fundraising campaign.

The approach put into action by Mapstone seems uniquely Waynesboro.

“I have so many fond memories of Waynesboro growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, and remember with a great deal of pride being able to grow up in a small-town environment, where you knew all the local merchants, where you knew all the folks walking up and down the street. The people I wanted to reach out to were people I had gone to school with who I had grown up with,” Mapstone said.

“I can’t speak for later generations, but the people that I went to school with in the ’50s and ’60s had a lot of school pride and a lot of community pride. That’s what I think we can really tap into here,” Mapstone said.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

augusta free press
augusta free press