Women of Substance & Style: Deborah Goodrich Royce

“I am particularly passionate about the arts and their role in fostering lives of meaning, even in difficult times,” says Royce, a writer, philanthropist, and a former actress. So naturally, the literary and cinematic arts are very high on her list. “In 2004, my husband and I restored and reopened the Avon Theatre—a classic 1939 cinema in Stamford, CT—and I am still chair of the board. At the Avon, not only do we show the best of independent cinema 365 days a year (this Covid-19 crisis is the first time we have closed our doors in sixteen years), but we have created a number of film series of which I am really proud.” Royce is also a board member of the PRASAD Project, a cause that is very dear to her heart. Royce has also spent a great deal of time working on historic preservation and restoration projects. Some of these have been commercial, like the Ocean House. Most of them—like the Avon Theatre—are more about the Main Street Revitalization movement that is happening in America now. “As a lover of gardens and public spaces, I am also an active board member of the New York Botanical Garden and a former board member of the Garden Conservancy. The New York Botanical Garden has one of my favorite programs in New York: The Edible Academy.” And as a writer, she adores the New York Public Library. “I have had the privilege of co-chairing the Library Lions event and the Library Luncheon for several years now. Hearing other writers talk about what they do and how they do it—it doesn’t get better than that!”

Deborah Goodrich Royce