Nathan S. Collier, of the Collier Companies, and his wife Ani Collier, a former professional ballet dancer from Bulgaria, have generously offered a 10-year dollar-for-dollar challenge grant to help secure the future of Gainesville’s 46-year old professional theatre and its many associated educational and community programs.
“The Hippodrome Theatre is a cultural jewel for Gainesville, an incredible asset; ensuring its long-term viability is important for our artistic future,” Nathan Collier said.
This campaign, dubbed The Collier Challenge, is a true matching gift program. The Colliers will match every new 10-year pledge dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000 per year, for the full ten years. Donations will go towards actor salaries, script royalties, educational programming, etc., and the Colliers’ gift will go into an unrestricted endowment fund that will help stabilize the theatre’s operations into the future.
In recent years, federal funding for arts grants has steadily dried up, and in Florida our state legislature’s funding decisions have been wildly erratic. Theatre companies like the Hippodrome, along with all the educational and cultural programs attached to them, now live or die on home-grown support.
“This is a community that truly values the arts and their impact on the quality of life in our region. We have a long history of people stepping up when it counts, like Nathan and Ani are doing now. We know Gainesville will follow their lead and couldn’t be more grateful and excited,” said the Hippodrome’s Artistic Director, Stephanie Lynge.
The Hippodrome Theatre is a professional regional theatre founded in 1973. The non-profit organization has provided artistic excellence to the Gainesville area through NEA-award winning mainstage productions, art-house films, arts education, a visual art gallery, and special event programming for 46 years.