"When an opportunity came, I wasn't denied the chance to seize upon it just because I didn't have the financial ability to go."

As a 34-year-old single parent, Jack Lynch decided to give his dreams a shot. The Iowa City native had been working at UI Hospitals and Clinics, but his true love was the theatre. So he went back to school to nurture his talent.

After doing some undergraduate work at the UI, Jack received his degree at another university. But when it came time for graduate school, the UI offered him an opportunity to create a self-styled M.F.A. program in theatre, which included dance. He thrived—and with a special boost given to him by contributors to the Iowa Impact Fund, he has gone on to establish a successful and fulfilling career in theatre.

While in the graduate program, Jack received an opportunity to travel to New York City to perform an original piece at the prestigious and influential La Mama Experimental Theatre. It was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, but he couldn’t afford the trip. He tried to get help from various University sources—but the specific designations for those funds didn’t match his need.

Performing in New York, however, would clearly be an important step for this talented artist’s career, so the director of his M.F.A. program requested funding from the unrestricted Iowa Impact Fund (which was then known as the Iowa Opportunity Fund).

With these unrestricted resources, the UI was able to step in quickly and help cover costs for the trip—and because of thoughtful contributors, Jack’s life was forever changed for the better.

Jack says, “Because of the Iowa Impact Fund, when an opportunity came, I wasn’t denied the chance to seize upon it just because I didn’t have the financial ability to go. I will always be grateful for that.

Now Jack, who received his M.F.A. in theatre arts in 1996, lives in London, directing and nurturing his passion for teaching at the esteemed Guildford School of Acting. In 1999 he and his wife, actor and UI graduate Edie Campbell (she earned her M.A. degree in English in 1993) formed their own theatre company, LynchPin Productions.

Recently Jack returned home in an exciting fashion—in March 2002, he and Edie came to Iowa City to produce their one-woman play, Emily Dickinson and I, which has received critical acclaim in London and at the Edinburgh Festival, at Iowa City’s Riverside Theatre.

All Jack needed was a chance. Thanks to the Iowa Impact Fund, he got that chance and is still making the most of it.