Arts center pledges at 60 percent of needed $3M

Gilroy
– City leaders recently approved a new batch of naming rights
for areas in the proposed arts center, after the last two months
brought in another $130,000 in donations for its endowment
campaign.
Gilroy – City leaders recently approved a new batch of naming rights for areas in the proposed arts center, after the last two months brought in another $130,000 in donations for its endowment campaign.

The latest round of gifts brings the campaign to $1,825,000, roughly 60 percent of the $3 million goal for the Gilroy Center for the Arts.

It includes a $50,000 pledge in honor of former economic development director Bill Lindsteadt, who died in January after serving the city for nine years. The fundraising drive on his behalf will allow the Box Office to bear his name.

The list of donations includes seven gifts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. Once complete, the $3-million endowment campaign will help pay for annual operating expenses at the new center, scheduled to open off Seventh and Monterey streets by 2008.

Fundraisers had secured nearly half the goal before announcing the campaign, thanks in large part to a $1.25 million pledge from residents Don and Karen Christopher, whose family owns the state’s largest garlic farm.

The family made another $25,000 donation in February, this time to have the Gift Shop named after Karen Christopher.

Sherri Stuart, one of several fundraisers working on the campaign, expects unsolicited gifts to “plateau” as the campaign heads into the next phase. In order to keep up momentum, she said organizers would begin looking to attract more small donations while making direct appeals for larger gifts.

The endowment, which will be held at the Gilroy Foundation, will allow the center to offer students and nonprofit groups discounted rates while meeting annual operating expenses.

The facility’s current business plan projects $132,000 shortfall in the center’s annual operating budget of $503,000. The plan predicts the endowment would cover the difference by earning 5 percent interest on the $3 million, or $150,000, each year. The remainder of the annual operating costs will come from rental fees for special events, concession sales, advertising, and user fees. The largest portion – about $117,500 – will come from rentals of space to private and nonprofit groups.

The endowment campaign is scheduled to last another 18 months.

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