Derrick Trumbly

(VIDEO) Columbia College Chicago Theatre Alum Combats Student Debt Crisis With Ed.Arts Fundraising Campaign

“We helped student artists start to manage their debt . . . and we’re going to keep doing it. Please support us as we do.”

Ed.Arts, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumnus Derrick Trumbly (BA ’05), is in the final week of a pre-Christmas fundraising campaign. “We have an anonymous donor who is willing to provide a Matching Donation,” wrote Trumbly in a December 20 e-mail. “If we reach a goal of 100 donors contributing at least $5 each, by 11:59 PM on December 24, this donor will give $500 to help free artists from student debt. . . . All donations are fully tax deductible for 2015.” For more information, click here.

Trumbly, an actor whose credits include roles at American Theater Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, About Face Theatre, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, and Kansas City Repertory Theatre, is a graduate of the Columbia College Theatre Department‘s BA Program in Acting. He introduced his plans for Ed.Arts in a video published on November 14, 2015, and posted here.

Trumbly recently spoke to students in the Columbia College Theatre Department’s senior-level “Professional Survival” class, and chronicled his experience speaking to the students in his Ed.Arts blog. “There was a lot of information delivered today that those students may not have found on their own because of the lack of communication about student debt,” Trumbly wrote. “We helped student artists start to manage their debt today and we’re going to keep doing it. Please support us as we do.”

Ed.Arts’ goals are to:

  • Show aspiring artists a realistic picture of their future financial obligations involving student loan debt, and give them access to a database containing information on the realities of student loan debt and alternatives to funding an arts education.
  • Provide free information, seminars, webinars and access to financial experts for artists currently dealing with student loan debt obligations while pursuing a career in the arts.
  • Offer financial support: “For select artists who have proven themselves committed and have continued to pursue their craft for at least 7 years after leaving school, despite extreme financial hardship in the face of student debt, we will make contributions to help them actually pay off their student loan debt. For now we will make as many awards, for as much as we can, based on the amount of donations we have coming in.  We strive to one day be able to pay, in full, the remaining balance of the student debt weighing down these select ‘exceptional indebted creatives.’ We will select these award recipients through a rigorous and ongoing application review process.”

Ed.Arts’ fundraising campaign seeks to cover expenses associated with:

  • Creating free services, including a searchable database of resources, webinars and seminars.
  • Marketing its free services so that the people who need help can find the group.
  • Building a network of professionals willing to donate their time to help counsel and mentor “indebted creatives”  to manage their debt.
  • Researching and vetting the ever-changing and growing landscape of alternatives to student loans for funding an arts education and amassing them as a comprehensive resource for aspiring artists, their parents and teacher /advisors.
  • Vetting applications from worthy artists for Ed.Arts’ Debt Relief Awards, and making as many as possible, for as much as possible, as soon as possible, as the group continues to raise donations.
  • Overhead and related costs — insurance, operating costs, filing fees, office tools, etc.
  • Staff to help with development, grant writing, and managing programs.

You can join Ed.Arts’ mailing list, become a donor on its website, and share your student loan stories at the group’s website.

Ed Arts



Keli Garrett2