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Since our founding in 1964, dozens of generous donors have provided for the O’Neill through bequests and other estate gifts, which have allowed us to provide a world-renowned haven for new work and new artists. We were recently informed of one such gift from two longtime members of the O’Neill family: Trustees Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, who have made provisions for a significant bequest to the O'Neill as part of their estate plans. As a token of our deep gratitude, we have renamed our planned giving program in their honor: The Cowen & Lipman Society.


Ron (NPC '67-'69, '72) and Dan (NPC '72) first came to the O’Neill as playwrights during the formative years of the National Playwrights Conference. Cowen’s first play, Summertree, premiered at the O’Neill in 1967 and was produced the following year at Lincoln Center where it won the Drama Desk Award. After meeting at the O'Neill in 1972 they began a lifelong personal and professional relationship that would result in the creation of numerous plays, the groundbreaking TV series Queer as Folk (U.S.) and Sisters, and their most important work: An Early Frost, which aired on NBC in 1985. It was the first major film to ever address the AIDS epidemic, and won for them the Emmy Award for their teleplay and the Peabody Award. Most recently, they wrote the book for Betty Blue Eyes, which was produced in London’s West End by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Musical.

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“Being at the O'Neill's National Playwrights Conference was a transformative experience for us, as it is for everyone who has ever attended one of their programs. It was where we began a professional and personal relationship that has lasted a lifetime. To say that the O’Neill is significantly responsible for one’s life may sound overly 'dramatic' - but in our case, it's true. So it seems fitting to want to give back. To say thank you. And to encourage others whose lives have been touched by the O’Neill to do the same. We would like our legacy not just to be our work, but also to ensure that the O'Neill will continue to provide the opportunities and experience for new artists for a long time to come.”

Photo by John Russo

Estate gifts such as these, no matter the size, will ensure the O'Neill remains the Launchpad of the American Theater for decades to come. Members of the Cowen & Lipman Society are also acknowledged in donor listings and invited to an annual event at the O'Neill; if you have already named the O'Neill in your estate plans, we hope you will let us know by contacting Rob Mooney, Director of Development, at 860.443.5378 x 212 or via email at

Cowen & Lipman Society Members

Thomas J Aberger*

Anne Sullivan Calanquin

Jed Coffin

Jack Gilhooly*

Ron Cowen & Daniel Lipman

Susan Kelly

Francis Pavetti

Lee & David Snyderman

George & Betsy White



Suggested Ways To Make A Gift Through Your Estate

Two of the most popular ways to make a planned gift are through a Bequest and a Beneficiary Designation. Below you will find language that may be helpful to you in arranging for one of these types of gifts to be made to the O’Neill. 


You may also consider a Charitable Gift Annuity, an option that allows you to earn money while supporting the future of the O’Neill’s programs.


Please contact Rob Mooney, Director of Development, at 860.443.5378 x 213 or via email at for more information on how you can support the next generation of O’Neill artists. 


Note: The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Any inquiries made to the O’Neill are for informational purposes only; the donor is under no obligation to make a gift when reaching out.

To establish an unrestricted gift in your estate plan for the O’Neill we would suggest language like:

"I give and bequeath, absolutely and forever, the sum of $_____________ (or _____% of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate) unto The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford, CT, for the general support of the organization."

To establish a scholarship through your estate plan, we would suggest using language like the following:

"I give and bequeath, absolutely and forever, the sum of $_____________ (or _____% of my residual estate) unto The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Waterford, CT. I direct that this gift shall establish the ______________ Scholarship (whatever name you prefer), to provide assistance to deserving students studying (restriction, if any). I further request that, should this fund meet the financial requirement, the O’Neill permanently endow this scholarship."

Not everyone wants to commit to making a gift in their wills or estates. Some prefer the increased flexibility that a beneficiary designation provides by using:

  • IRAs and retirement plans

  • Life insurance policies

  • Commercial annuities

It only takes three simple steps to make this type of gift. Here's how to name the O’Neill as a beneficiary:

  1. Contact your retirement plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution for a change-of-beneficiary form.

  2. Decide what percentage (1 to 100) you would like the O’Neill to receive and name it, along with the percentage, on the beneficiary form.

  3. Return the completed form to your plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution.

A charitable gift annuity is an arrangement between you and the O’Neill wherein you agree to make a gift to the O’Neill and, in return, we agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life. If you are under the age of 65 and would like to take advantage of this giving vehicle, you may opt to arrange for a deferred gift annuity, and begin receiving payments at a later date - creating a dependable stream of income in your retirement years while also making a charitable contribution.

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Become a member today! Members help us support new work and new voices, and they receive special perks including discounts, early ticket access, and opportunities to engage with the artists whose work they're making possible.

interested in other ways to give?

Join us in writing the next act of the American theater with a gift of any size to support our work today! Learn more about what your support can do and how to increase your impact by clicking HERE.

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