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$500,000 Challege Grant For Town Hall Theater

Tuesday August 7, 2007

    Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater has received a major boost to its capital campaign, a $500,000 challenge grant designed to help the community finish the project.

    The largest gift ever received by THT comes in the form of a dollar-for-dollar match.  Town Hall Theater must raise another $500,000 to receive the gift, which has a deadline of December 31, 2007.  When the challenge is met, the long-awaited interior renovation can begin.

    The donors reside in Addison County but wish to remain anonymous.  A letter from their lawyer, received in the Town Hall Theater offices on July 27, cites the project as “a catalyst for the community and its citizens.”  The grant will “provide you with additional leverage and an incentive for the community to put you over your goal.”

    THT Executive Director Douglas Anderson admits that he cried when he heard the news.  “We’ve worked so hard and have made such great progress over the years, raising more money each year than the year before, but I think there’s a general feeling that the community wants this building on line now, because the benefits are so obvious. This grant makes it urgent that we finish the job right away.”

    The organization has raised over $4.5 million to date.  “Remarkable,” says Anderson, “for a group that had zero dollars and no track record only 8 years ago.”

    Co-chairs of the campaign are Bruce Baker and Peggy Keith, who launched the final phase of the THT Capital Campaign in June with a dynamic mailing designed by local graphic artist Sam Trudel.  It featured a transparent envelope that revealed a stunning photo of the newly-restored exterior.  “That mailing was a wow,” says Anderson.  “People are still talking about it, and it’s still generating contributions.”

    All contributions made from July 27 onward will go toward matching the challenge grant.

    The campaign committee is working overtime to raise the final dollars.  It has organized a series of informal get-togethers to explain the many benefits of the project to potential donors.  Tours of the facility are given regularly, and a phonathon is in the works.  “It’s all hands on deck,” says Anderson.  “We’re trying every trick we know, and we have to move fast.  Our volunteers are really motivated.”

    If the match is made, when will the Town Hall Theater re-open?  The challenge grant makes a grand re-opening in 2008 a distinct  possibility, something that thrills Anderson.  “I think a lot about our re-opening.  What a party that will be.”

   Anyone wishing to contribute should contact the Town Hall Theater offices at 388-1436.


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