Barr leaves Raise the Roof for the Arts

Joins fundraising consultation firm in Dublin, Ohio

By Melanie Speicher -



SIDNEY — The search is on for a new executive director for Raise the Roof for the Arts.

Sarah Barr, of Sidney, who was the first executive director for the nonprofit, submitted her resignation to the board on Dec. 1. Her last day on the job was Friday, Dec. 15.

Barr, who has been with the group for five years, was named executive director in April 2014.

“She starts a new job after the first of the year with Cramer & Associates, a fundraising consultant firm in Dublin,” said board President Judy Westerheide.

According to Westerheide, the company contacted Barr about working for them.

“She didn’t go looking for the job,” said Westerheide. “We couldn’t, as a nonprofit, match it (their offer). She’s leaving on good terms.

“This came as a surprise to us,” said Westerheide. “She announced it at thee last board meeting. We wish her all the best. Sidney is a stepping stone to bigger and better things.”

Barr said she is “excited” about her new job.

“It’s going to be a great adventure,” said Barr.

Barr said Cramer & Associate’s mission is to help philanthropic agencies thrive.

“That’s what I was doing at the theater,” said Barr. “And that’s something I’m passionate about.”

She said the company’s focus is on groups in Ohio. She currently learning what her job responsibilities will be.

“They want innovative ideas which use the client’s resources to help them achieve their goals,” said Barr. At this point she doesn’t know how many projects she’ll be working on for the company.

Barr said the company had heard about her work with the theater project.

“They were intrigued that one person was doing it (whole project). They followed up on social media with me,” she said.

Barr joined Raise the Roof for the Arts in 2013. At that time, the board set a goal of $3.5 million to be raised for the renovation. To date, $3.7 million has been raised.

“Even though the renovations are not done, I felt I accomplished the goal that was set in the beginning,” said Barr. “So many things have been accomplished. We were able to develop an bring life to the theater through events. We were able to bring the community together so they could see the importance of having an entity like the theater.”

Barr said she is most proud of the amount of money that was raised for the project.

“A great leader surrounds themselves with great people,” said Barr. “We did that at the theater. I’m honored to be joining Cramer & Associates. They are a top notch agency and are passionate about what they do. They are motivated to help others.

“When you surround yourself with people who are passionate about the same thing you are, the sky’s the limit,” said Barr.

In her resignation letter, Barr said, “It is with a heavy heart to announce that I will be leaving the position that I have loved and performed for the last five years. I have received an offer with Cramer & Associates, a fundraising consultant firm in Dublin, Ohio. After careful consideration, I have realized professionally, this opportunity is too good to pass up.

“This was a difficult decision both professionally and personally. Your generous contributions to Raise the Roof for the Arts have been nothing short of vital. Without your friendship and support I would not be ready to embark on this next chapter in my career. For this, I am forever grateful.

“Eric (her husband) and I will not (be) leaving Sidney at this time, and will continue to support the theater project, the arts and the community as a whole. I will forever cherish the memories and friendship I have made along the way,” the letter concludes.

Westerheide said the experience Barr received as executive director helped her land the new job.

“She learned a lot on the job and that made her desirable to other companies,” said Westerheide.

Barr sent her resignation letter to all the patrons of the theater, said Westerheide.

“She will be working from home a couple of days a week and will be working from the office a couple of days a week,” said Westerheide.

With Barr’s resignation, the board of directors has hired Laney Shaw as paid intern until a new executive director can be hired.

“We’re lucky enough to have this young lady, Laney Shaw,” said Westerheide. “She directed ‘The Little Mermaid’ last summer at the theater. She also a theater management major in college (Wright State University).

“She will be working here two days a week,” she said. “She also has a part time internship at the Victoria Theatre. She’s going to keep us going until we hire a new executive director.”

Westerheide said the board is in the process of finalizing the job description for the executive director.

“We’ve had several candidates express an interest in the job,” said Westerheide. “The board will pass the applications onto the people who might be interested in it. We like the idea of getting someone locally, who already knows the area.

‘There are plenty of qualified people in Ohio,” she said. “If they contact us, we’ll send the information out.”

She said the board would like to find a new director as soon as possible.

The film series in January and February is ready to go, she said. The Sidney Dance Company will be performing “Cats” in February.

“Laney will be there as a support for the programs,” said Westerheide.

The theater will go dark after the “Cats” performance as more renovation work is planned.

“Sarah has been a one-person show,” said Westerheide. “She’s been involved in every step of the restoration process and all the programs. She’s been invaluable to us. It’s going to be hard to fill her shoes, but we’re going to do it.”

While she won’t be working for Raise the Roof for the Arts, Barr said the theater will remain on her radar.

“I will continue to support the theater project,” said Barr. “It is vital to the community. I’ll be supporting it but it will just be in another capacity.”

Westerheide said the board is currently planning a going away party for Barr.

Joins fundraising consultation firm in Dublin, Ohio

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.