Starting the next act: Nonprofit closure leads to permanent community benefit

For over a decade, the Carolina Youth Theatre in Clayton educated young people about theater and showcased their talents on stage.

When the pandemic hit, programming was paused. It gave founders Nikki and Wes Dyke time to reflect and make a scene change. They decided to dissolve the theater.  

With that decision, CYT’s board faced another tough decision of what to do with the remaining assets of the organization, with the goal of continuing to support youth arts education in the community.

They donated sets, props, musical instruments, and supplies to Clayton High School, Temple Theatre, and a local church. They gave $25,000 to the Clayton High School Performing Arts Booster Club to benefit the theater and choral programs at Clayton High School.

And they reached out to the North Carolina Community Foundation. The Dykes were familiar with the foundation and its Johnston County affiliate and reached out to discuss options.

From left to right, JCCF board members Oliver Johnson and Betsy Whittington; Nikki and Wes Dyke; and NCCF Development Officer Jake Pope.

NCCF Development Officer Jake Pope worked with them and, as a result, the Carolina Youth Theatre Fund for Arts Education was established with $100,000. Annual grants from the endowment will provide ongoing support to nonprofits in Johnston County whose work focuses on youth arts education beginning this year.

“Working with NCCF was easy and fun, and we have full confidence that CYT’s resources will be stewarded well,” says Nikki Dyke. “We are thrilled that the Johnston County affiliate will prioritize the arts-related needs in our community and see that the funds are put to good use. It’s a happy ending for CYT!”