Embrace Greatness campaign chair Fred Louws recently accepted a $3,000-donation from the Fort Erie Rotary Club, presented by Pauline Petek. Kris Dube/Special to Postmedia Network
The fundraising campaign behind a new arts theatre in Fort Erie has about 20 months left to find another $1.4 million it needs to reach its goal.
The $3-million catalyst for creativity will have one third of its cost paid for by the Town of Fort Erie and the District School Board of Niagara, but the remaining $2 million is the responsibility of the community and the group leading the Embrace Greatness campaign.
The theatre is planned to be built at Greater Fort Erie Secondary School, which will open in September.
Fred Louws, chair of the fundraising committee as well as the new high school’s principal, said the amount collected to date is just shy of $600,000.
“It’s where we’re at – we’d love to have it all raised at this point in time,” he said in a recent interview.
There are several other “irons in the fire” and potential donations Louws and his team are waiting on, he said.
“That $600,000 represents a lot of hard work from our committee,” said Louws.
Last May, a major fundraiser was held at the Leisureplex for the cause. ‘Hollywood North – Party on the Patio’ featured all types of local musicians and was hosted by Fort Erie native Les Trent, a senior correspondent for Inside Edition, a news program on CBS.
The event raised more than $20,000.
On May 20, ‘Hollywood North – Fire and Ice’ will be held and scheduled to coincide with the closing ceremonies for Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School and Fort Erie Secondary School. Donations can also be made through the Embrace Greatness website. Contributions of $50 and more are being accepted.
“Whatever folks can afford – that’s the beauty of this campaign,” said Louws.
Naming rights of the theatre will also be granted to any organization or individual who donates $500,000.
The campaign officially kicked off in summer 2015 when the E.J. Freeland Foundation made a contribution of $75,000.
QMI Agency / Fort Erie Times