The Fairfield Theatre Company fell short of its $100,000 fundraising goal by its Valentine's Day deadline.

But two donors who pledged to match donations up to that amount have given the theater more time to hit the goal, which would help the non-profit extend programs to the underprivileged and others.

Theater officials said they have raised more than $85,000 in donations from the public, and the two anonymous benefactors have extended their pledge to March 8, giving the non-profit company time to try to raise the final $15,000.

"We're thrilled with the progress, a true testament that the community values FTC," said Brad Purcell, president of its board of directors.

"With an extra few weeks, we're hopeful that FTC will fully achieve its goal," he said.

In March, FTC plans to launch "Saturday Kids at FTC," a program of professional music instruction for Bridgeport Public Schools students.

Workshops in strings and guitars and in piano are planned, along with a collaborative performance workshop in which young musicians will have instruction in playing along with one another.

That's the first of a number of new initiatives FTC has planned.

"People with means will always find their way to art," said Eileen O'Reilly, FTC's managing director.

"But it's important to bring everyone to art, because it's such a life-enhancing experience. It opens up their lives to so many possibilities.

"You can change a child's life by handing them an instrument, so for FTC, as a performing arts organization, it is essential to offer this programming."

O'Reilly added that the $100,000 matching grant "is a generous gift meant to inspire our ticket holders and donors to give generously while the campaign is under way.

"The money will be used to improve our [balance sheet], and to support diverse programming, specifically performing arts education for under-served children," she said.

Donors who contribute $50 or more will automatically become an FTC member, getting ticket discounts and access to tickets before they become available to the public.

More information on how to donate is available by calling the theater's offices at 203-319-1404, or by e-mailing