OURAY – Donors and event planners are rallying around the effort to purchase the Wright Opera House by having full funding in place by Nov. 1. Meeting that deadline will prevent the loss of a $75,000 grant from the Gates Family Foundation.
According to the Friends of the Wright Opera House, Native Ourayan Barrett Toan and his wife, Polly O’Brien, have added $75,000 to the fund by raising their initial pledge from $25,000 to $100,000. Their initial pledge was the first major gift at the beginning of the campaign.
The Friends of the Wright Opera House also have announced a major challenge issued by a donor wishing to remain anonymous. Gifts and pledges received before Oct. 31 will be matched, up to $65,000, with the potential of adding $130,000 to the fund.
“The arithmetic is interesting right now" says Joyce Linn, FWOH Fundraising Chair Joyce Linn of the matching funds challenge. "Donors get about half their contributed amount back in the substantial tax benefits for this project. But FWOH gets twice the contributed amount during the challenge.”
Many local businesses have contributed to the effort, including the Ouray Brewery, which is sponsoring a fundraising event on Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 5-7 p.m., featuring an hors d'oeuvres buffet and the auctioning off of a brewmaster day, where the highest bidder can spend a day brewing beer with the Ouray Brewery brewmaster. Donations will be taken at the door for admission, and $1 from every pint sold will also be given to the Friends of the Wright Opera House.
The Friends' most recent fundraiser was a huge success, with Kelvin Kent providing an illustrated presentation of Himalayan climbs, along with a silent auction on Oct. 9. The event attracted a full house and brought in almost $5,000, which will be matched by the challenge, adding nearly $10,000 to the fund to purchase the building.
In early October, the Timshel Theater Company of Montrose staged the play, “Tuesdays With Morrie” as a benefit, adding nearly $2,000 to the fund.
“After the generous Toan-O’Brien gift, we needed about $150,000 when the amazing offer for the $65,000 match arrived. If we can raise the entire $65,000 to add $130,000 to the fund, we will have nearly enough to close the gap and qualify to keep the $75,000 grant,” explained Linn. “Donations of all sizes are arriving daily and we have nearly half of the match. Hopefully donations will continue and we can top off the entire goal at the Ouray Brewery fundraiser on Oct. 27 and set the date for the closing.”
Information about the project is available at HYPERLINK "http://www.SaveTheWright.org"www.SaveTheWright.org, including ability to contribute online or download a pledge sheet. Further information may also be obtained by calling FWOH boardmembers Jim Opdahl, Valerie Hill, Dee Williams, Nancy Nixon or Linn are also available to provide information about the campaign.
If FWOH succeeds in scheduling the sale, pledges will be due in November. Donations can be sent to FWOH at P. O. Box 17, Ouray, CO 81427.