BIPOC Support Foundation & Patio Playhouse

Patio Playhouse is honored to have the opportunity to partner each show in our season with a nonprofit. This summer, in keeping with our support for speaking up on behalf of marginalized communities, Patio has been proud to spread the word about BIPOC Support Foundation. We know how much of a difference it can make to start and continue conversations about equity and the Patio team is often involved in and in attendance of BSF events and initiatives, so we knew this would be a natural fit! One of our actors from I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is even on the BIPOC Support Foundation advisory board and the founder of the foundation, DeMilo Young, is a member of the Patio community herself, having costumed and had family members performing in past shows! Isn’t that the coolest?

We interviewed Abby Hidalgo Reynolds, Executive Board Member and Treasurer/CFO of BSF. A San Diego native and homeschooling mom of 3 since 2004, Abby has been very active in the San Diego community as a volunteer for many organizations, in addition to her work with BSF, such as Center Stage Productions, San Diego Girl Scouts and even as an historical reenactor at Old Town State Park. She has a BA in Economics from UCSD and is currently in the UCSD Extension Fundraising and Development Professional Certificate Program. We truly enjoyed the opportunity to learn even more about her and the work that this incredible organization is doing. Read on…

Tell us about your organization: how did you get started?  

BSF began in the Summer of 2020 as an organization that sought to assist BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) owned businesses because it was becoming apparent that small businesses in communities of color had unequal access to federal Covid relief.  The mission quickly expanded to include supporting BIPOC commununities as a whole.  I became involved when DeMilo Young, BSF’s founder, put out a call to action.  (Fun fact – I know DeMilo because our kids did theatre together!) 

What does BIPOC Support Foundation do? 

BSF runs programs that empower and support BIPOC individuals, businesses and communities.  We give micro grants, mentorship and resources to BIPOC owned businesses through our Business Support Program.  Our Education Inititative Program focuses on providing decolonized educational resources for educators and students.  We have had Quarterly Book Club Events for educators, Backpack distribution for K-12 students and ran a summer camp for San Diego Unified Students, grades 3-5.  Our Women+s WORK Program, (WORK stands for Wellness/Opportunity/Resources/Knowledge) will be launched in 2022 and will focus on creating education, career and wellness programs for women+ (women+ includes all transgender women and gender non-conforming people.)

Can you tell us about your history/relationship with Patio Playhouse?  

I personally love Patio Playhouse!  Our family has seen many productions and my son has even been in a few!  I love the intentionality Patio has in selecting the shows they do.  And I love the work they do for the community making theatre so accessible to youth by not charging tuition fees to participate.  They are a gem of Escondido!

In what ways do you think theatre/musicals are important today? 

I think theatre, and musicals in particular, help our society by posing difficult questions and challenging the status quo in a way that is palatable, not disruptive, not preachy.  Because we are being entertained, we don’t notice the message until it’s already inside us and the change has happened.  We already empathize with these characters and can’t go back to the way we thought before. Theatre is so essential!

How does live theatre tie in with the work that you do at BSF? 

I think we both use stories to enact beneficial change.  I think we are both share a desire for a more just world.

Do you have any new or upcoming projects that you’re excited about sharing with us? 

Like I mentioned above, we will be rolling out our Women+s WORK program and expanding our Business Support Programs as well.  Also, in the Spring 2022, we will be having an in person event at BLISS Tea in Oceanside.  

Relationships… gotta love ’em! Any relationship advice you’d like to share with our audiences? 

Always keep your sense of humor! 

Thanks, Abby, and we encourage everyone to not only give generously this Thursday during San Diego Gives’ Day of Giving (the link is LIVE NOW and BIPOC Support Foundations donations are currently being matched!), but also to come out to enjoy the final weekend of our summer season at Kit Carson Amphitheatre with I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!