Gates Foundation Grants $60K to Wright Opera House
by Watch Staff
Sep 23, 2013 | 3249 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Elevator Installation Planned for April


OURAY – The Wright Opera House has received a grant of $60,000 from the Gates Family Foundation, a Colorado-based foundation, to support initial interior renovation and the installation of an elevator. The grant is contingent on raising $200,000 toward the complete project budget of $350,000. 

According to Josh Gowans, WOH executive director, “a good start on the $200,000 is well underway, including the gift from Dave Wood to purchase the elevator and other gifts from donors this year, leaving about $80,000 to raise. Our hope is to raise those funds by the end of 2013 which would permit appropriate planning to start construction during the winter and have the elevator operating by next summer.” 

The current fundraising phase, dubbed the “Access Project,” will install a new elevator and central staircase, and renovate much of the lower and upper lobbies. The venue will close for roughly one month during construction; plans to accommodate the 30-45 day closure, starting in April, is underway. 

The Friends of the Wright Opera House board follows a policy of having funding in place before beginning each phase. The $350,000 goal for this phase included $100,000 to cover operational costs (excluding program costs) over the next year. A donor provided a $50,000 challenge grant for matching donations for operations; the goal was reached last month. 

Support for this phase combined with funds raised at the Wright's 125th birthday celebration in late July added almost $30,000 in cash and pledges for the Access Project fund, bringing the total to nearly $200,000. The most recent grant from Gates Family Foundation raises the total committed to just under $260,000. (A previous Gates grant was instrumental in facilitating the Friends of the Wright Opera House purchase of the building in 2011.)

To support this initiative, contact Joyce Linn, fundraising chair, at 970/316-0028 or Josh Gowans at 970/325-4399. Donations can be sent to FWOH, P.O.Box 17, Ouray, CO 81427. In addition to regular Federal Charitable Gift Tax Deductions, gifts between $50 and $100,000 qualify for a tax credit equal to 25 percent of the gift on Colorado Income Tax. Gifts of appreciated stock carry additional significant benefits.

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