John Swope, a longtime supporter of the Capitol Center for the Arts, in the Center’s Chubb Theatre in Concord. The Center’s atrium is named in honor of John and Marjory Swope. Photo by Cheryl Senter.

John Swope, a longtime supporter of the Capitol Center for the Arts, in the Center’s Chubb Theatre in Concord. The Center’s atrium is named in honor of John and Marjory Swope. Photo by Cheryl Senter.

Supporting the Arts, Building Community

John Swope uses his donor-advised fund to support arts organizations that improve New Hampshire's quality of life

When John and Marjory Swope moved to Concord in 1963, Concord was a pretty sleepy state capital.

But Swope was delighted to discover, shortly after arriving, that the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra was playing in town. That became a boasting point to out-of-town visitors.

Swope has since become a mainstay of New Hampshire arts and cultural institutions.

Swope holds a donor-advised fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, through which he supports organizations including the Capitol Center for the Arts and the Currier Museum.

“The arts bring a community together — from all economic levels and from all religious denominations,” Swope said, “I think it goes a long way to making a good community.”

When Swope was president of Chubb Life, the company became known for its support of the arts. Swope co-founded the New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts, was interim CEO of New Hampshire Public Television and PBS, and has served on many nonprofit boards, including the Foundation’s Capital Region Advisory Board.

The Foundation, he said, provides efficient and effective vehicles for giving; and a breadth and depth of expertise about the nonprofit and funding landscapes and the pressing issues facing New Hampshire.

He has encouraged people to become involved in the Foundation “who were involved in the community, but hadn’t thought of themselves as philanthropists.”

Swope was active in the community effort to refurbish the Capitol Center, which helped revitalize Concord’s South Main Street.

“Most of us are fairly small potatoes when it comes to philanthropy,” Swope said, “but when you put a lot of us together, we can make a difference.”

This story originally appeared in the Foundation’s 2013 Annual Report.