June 27, 2023Donor Stories, Impact Stories

Celebrated philanthropist Lucille Little was passionate about the arts. All told, Mrs. Little awarded over $50 million to nonprofits in Fayette, Rowan and Elliott Counties. It would be hard to find an arts organization in those communities that has not benefitted from her generosity.

Mrs. Little died in 2002, but thanks to the power of endowments, her generosity lives on.

The Lexington Children’s Theatre (LCT) was always especially dear to Mrs. Little, so in 2012, The Little Foundation, which
continued to award grants based on Mrs. Little’s guidelines, honored her legacy by establishing an endowment of $2.5 million at the Community Foundation for the benefit of LCT.

Each year, the Fund’s annual payout of about $125,000 supports LCT’s Shooting Stars Youtheatre (SSYT), which provides year-round drama programs for youth in Rowan and Elliott Counties. In addition to workshops, performances and summer programs, SSYT reaches every third and fifth grader in those counties through fun, innovative programs that dovetail with core educational content.

Third graders get to invent their own superhero character and develop a monologue telling its backstory. Fifth graders learn about improvisation, performance and set design, and their performance pieces are filmed so children in younger
grades can enjoy them.

Octavia Biggs, Director of LCT’s Shooting Stars, created the award-winning program and has been at its helm since its inception in 2012. It has become so popular that Octavia has been invited to duplicate it in nine additional Eastern Kentucky Counties. Shooting Stars now has programs for toddlers, kids with dyslexia, and special needs students.
Former Shooting Stars students have gone on to careers in the theatre, become drama teachers, or now work beside Octavia in summer drama programs.

“Art education is what gives kids a voice and a brave space,” said Octavia. “I am proud to be part of something so amazingly beautiful.”

Shooting Stars has enriched the lives of an entire generation of students in Eastern Kentucky, and, because it is funded by an endowment, these high-quality programs will continue to inspire young people for generations to come.

Since 2012, the Little Endowment for LCT has paid a total of $1,364,058 to bring Shooting Stars Youtheatre to Rowan and Elliott Counties. Today, the endowment that was established with a $2.5 million grant now has a balance of $2.67 million—thanks to the power of endowments and the Community Foundation’s careful stewardship of the funds it administers.

For more information about endowments, or how to establish your own, contact Lisa Adkins, President/CEO, at or 859.255.3343.