“Our initial strategy was to accomplish the purchase during 2010, with upgrades beginning in 2011,” Williams said. “If the grants we expect are awarded and if the community continues their determined support for the project, we believe we can reach that goal. The first hurdle is the grant for $225,000 requested from the Colorado Historical Society. We will hear in February if we are successful. If that grant is awarded, it will raise our funding well past the $300,000 level needed to apply to the Gates Family Foundation. That application is in progress for the April 1 deadline, with grant announcements in June.”
Williams said the El Pomar Foundation declined the foundation’s 2009 request on the basis of our organization being too new and the level of existing funding not substantial enough. “We will re-apply in 2010 with the hope we meet their requirements by then,” she said. “Their decision comes in November.”
Jim Opdahl, who remains as Treasurer of FWOH,Inc., reported that donations, pledges and small grants now total $238,459. Over $100,000 of those pledges are designated by donors to be exercised in 2010 prior to the closing date.
“Therefore, we feel committed to finalizing the sale within that time frame, if possible,” Opdahl said. “Due to their diminished assets in 2009, foundations with whom we have been working are advising us that grants this year will be less than originally discussed when we began planning our strategy for this project. We will have to continue to reach out to the community in very active fund raising mode during 2010 and pursue additional foundations for support in order to supplement those smaller than expected grant amounts.”
A substantial 2010 calendar of fund raising events at the opera house is being planned, said to Joyce Linn, publicity/fund raising chair.
“In addition to adding to the purchase fund, these will provide some quite varied entertainment for the community helping us all envision potential future uses of the facility,” Linn said. “We also plan to conduct a survey to determine the types of programming to suit various components of the population. This will help guide the strategy for the future use of this valuable facility as it is upgraded, structured and programmed to serve the best interests of Ouray County.”
Nancy Nixon, also a founding member of the nonproft, will serve as the 2010 vice-chair. Continuing board member, Nick Sustana, will serve as director, with new boardmember Valerie Hill as secretary. Founding member Tom Kenning will remain active as an ex-officio board member.
“Our gratitude goes to Ralph Huesing for his participation as we initiated this project. His extraordinary knowledge and experience provided valuable leadership in structuring the strategy we are now following,” Williams said.