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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

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.

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