101 Stories: Ralph and Patricia Corbett

By The Children's Theatre

Celebrate TCT’s 101st season as it comes to a close as we applaud and appreciate those who contributed to the organization’s magic throughout our century-long journey.  During 10 weeks of recognition, we honor individuals who have been instrumental in the success of TCT, and who have not only helped TCT grow in mission, but also thrive, thanks to their passion.  It is these people and their moments in our history that shaped TCT to become what it is today. We encourage you to consider giving a gift in their honor to ensure the sustainability of TCT’s mission for the next 100+ years. 

Patricia Corbett

Ralph and Patricia Corbett moved to Cincinnati around 1935 and bought a small doorbell company – NuTone. Ralph revolutionized the industry by bringing door chimes into the home, and through this business and the support of Cincinnati, they found great success!

Jack Louiso, TCT’s former Artistic Director, was a friend who introduced the Corbetts to The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati.  They loved the arts and theatre and the idea of bringing the live stage to children. They were very concerned about the loss of public-school support when the arts began losing importance as part of the standard curriculum. From Jack, they gained great interest in helping the introduction of children to the arts.  They were impressed with the great work already underway by Jack and his team at TCT.  

Corbett’s philosophy was that when a community helps people experience success, those people have an obligation to give back to that community.  That is the root of their generosity. Cincinnati helped them accomplish so much, and they wanted the community to share in it.  The Corbett’s also believed strongly that a philanthropist’s gifts should be distributed during his or her lifetime. They kept trying to give it all away, and remarkably, the stock market kept responding in their favor providing even greater fortune.   

Ralph and Patricia were amazing people, and they didn’t just believe in giving money away; they wanted to make sure the money was doing what it was supposed to do. When Mrs. Corbett spelled out the purposes of these gifts in her final trust, the goal was for TCT to use the money as creatively as possible, including finding new ways to share and serve the TCT mission, not just continuing to do the same things that had already been done. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for Pat to show up to a rehearsal, show, or opening to witness their gift in action. She had a very astute mind for what she saw and often made suggestions that were included in the production or building that was being funded.  

To preserve her intentions beyond her lifetime, Mrs. Corbett put a committee in place to help the beneficiary organizations remember the purpose of these gifts. Committee contact Ed Marks feels that The Children’s Theatre has been very creative and successful with the uses of the Corbett’s gifts. Ed very much appreciates receiving TCT’s impact reports demonstrating the use of the funds and is delighted with the new ideas and new ways of reaching audiences. Ed feels strongly that if Patricia were alive today, she would be so pleased with all that is happening at TCT!

Would you honor Ralph & Patricia Corbett with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?