Costa family donates $1 million to Gallo Center

Modesto entrepreneur Dan Costa and his family are contributing $1 million to the Gallo Center for the Arts to expand access for low-income families, the center announced today.

The plaza in front of the center will be renamed in honor of the family.

“After meeting with directors of the Gallo Center, we were pleased to find their goals very much aligned with our own,” said Costa in a statement. “With school budgets at an all time low, we hope this gift is able to provide part of the well rounded education the children of Modesto could be left without. We encourage others to join us in bringing Gallo Center programs to our community’s youth. Even small donations of $20 or $100 can make a big difference, bringing in groups of children to experience a performance at the Center.”

Lynn Dickerson, the center’s chief executive officer, said she was thrilled with the donation.

“It’s huge for all of the obvious reasons but it’s also a huge boost to the confidence of other donors and a boost to the morale of staff,” she said.

The money could be used to underwrite performances of students from low-income schools at the Gallo Center or it might help them learn the business of theater from lighting to sound, Dickerson said.

It will not be applied as matching funds to the $1.5 million challenge grant offered by Gallo Winery and the Rogers family, Dickerson said. The challenge grant is for money to eliminate the center’s operating deficit; the Costa money is for low-income residents only.