GR comedian’s non-profit gets $10K boost from Stephen Colbert

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-07 18:40:45-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., -- Bart Sumner knows how powerful laughter can be when it comes to healing after the loss of a loved one. The longtime comedian/actor lost his 10-year-old son David to a traumatic brain injury during football practice in 2009.

In 2012, he started Healing Improv, a non-profit that offers workshops to help people cope with grief.

"It gives them permission to laugh again, gets them moving and talking to other people, relieves stress," Sumner told FOX 17 News. "And, it's been a great healing thing, both for me and the people that have attended the workshops."

Sumner volunteers his time and offers the programs free of charge. Healing Improv is also donation supported, which makes a recent gift from famed comedian Stephen Colbert that much more incredible.

Sumner recently learned he's received a $10,000 grant from the "Stephen Colbert AmeriCone Dream Fund".  A distant relative, who's also a writer for Stephen Colbert, recommended the group.

"He did us a solid. He realized what we're doing is worthwhile and he passed our name along," explained Sumner.  "It's really going to allow us to do more local workshops here in Grand Rapids, get the word out to more people and it's going to allow me to travel... It gives us a chance to really spread out and reach people who recognize what we're doing has value."

Healing Improv will hold its next workshop at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre on January 31st from 2-4pm.

To learn more about Healing Improv, click here.