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Rotary Club Pitches in $5,000 for School’s Arts Theatre

by Matthew Vandervoet | Sep 23, 2015

                  
The Fort Erie Rotary Club donated $5,000 towards the town’s arts theatre which will be attached to the new high school set to open in 2017. From left are: Rotary president Raye Browne, Rotary treasurer John Barrett, and fundraising committee members Ashley Gibson, Mayor Wayne Redekop and Fred Louws.


The long road to funding the town’s new arts centre got a bit shorter last week with the donation of $5,000 from the Fort Erie Rotary Club.

Combined with the $75,000 received from the E. J. Freeland Foundation earlier this summer and several smaller donations made during the kickoff campaign, fundraising chair Fred Louws said the committee has now passed the six-figure mark and is approaching about $150,000 in total donations. While there is still a long way to go towards the $3 million needed to build the facility, Louws, who will be the principal of Greater Fort Erie Secondary School when it opens in 2017, said donations large, small and everywhere in between are always welcome.

In the municipality's 2016 budget documents released this week, an additional $250,000 pledged by council was included to round out the $500,000 funding committed to the arts theatre by the town last year.

After some negotiating back and forth with the District School Board of Niagara early this year, the town and the DSBN each agreed to pitch in $500,000 towards the $3 million needed to build the theatre. Together, the board and the town hope to collect the remaining $2 million through fundraising and sponsorships, and any shortfall by 2017 will then be split equally between both parties.

The fundraising committee will be accepting donations of all sizes, from $50 all the way up to $50,000 with special naming opportunities beyond that. The town and the board are willing to sell the naming rights to the entire theatre for $500,000 and naming rights to the atrium and box office for $250,000 each. Naming rights for individual seats can also be purchased for between $1,000 and $2,000.

The committee is planning to host a number of fundraisers in the days to come, including partnering with the Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce on its annual auction gala, and hosting a swanky ice wine soiree with proceeds going towards the theatre.

James Culic
Niagara This Week