‘I was one of those children who was from an underserved community’

Michelle Johnson: The first time I set foot in a theater was when I was hired there. Now I’m passionate about bringing arts and culture to underserved kids and families.

Michelle Johnson: Executive assistant, ASU Gammage

My Story

The first time I stepped into a theater was when I was hired at ASU Gammage. I had just turned 21.

I was born and raised in the military. I lived in many different places before we came here in 1969. My father drove back and forth to Williams Air Force Base five days a week and he worked a part-time job in the neighborhood. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. Going to the theater was just something my family never did.

Why I Give

I always get emotional about why I give to ASU Gammage. I am passionate about our mission of Connecting Communities™, which brings arts and culture into the lives of children and families who would never have an opportunity to do so based on their income level.

When you have the opportunity to sit in the audience and watch the faces of those children — that’s what makes me emotional.

Because I was one of those children who was from an underserved community. Had I been here when I was younger, that may have been my first experience — as opposed to when I was 21 and came to work here. I love that one child’s life can be changed every single time we have a performance that involves students.

What I Care About

As an employee, whether you’re faculty or staff, you have so many choices when it comes to directing your charitable contributions. I choose programs that I’m passionate about.

“I always get emotional about why I give to ASU Gammage,” says Michelle Johnson. “I am passionate about our mission of Connecting Communities™, which brings arts and culture into the lives of children and families who would never have an opportunity to do so based on their income level.”

ASU Foundation, one of Arizona’s oldest nonprofits, raises and invests private contributions to Arizona State University. https://www.asufoundation.org/

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