The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation and the Sunderland Foundation have pledged a total of $1.15 million to help establish a new Avila University Goppert Performing Arts Center.
The Mabee Foundation based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has issued a $750,000 challenge grant. To receive the challenge grant, Avila must raise an additional $2.9 million for the project by October, 2017.
The Sunderland Foundation, which has pledged $400,000, focuses on providing grants annually to publicly supported charitable organizations and prefers to make the grants for capital and special projects such as higher education, human services and the arts.
The new Goppert Performing Arts Center will include 20,000 square feet in new and renovated space. The total project cost of $8 million will provide students additional rehearsal areas, a scene shop, grand lobby, equipment and technology, and performance spaces, including a 200-seat blackbox theatre.
The project has raised more than $5.1 million from alumni, friends, corporations and foundations throughout the community; including the Mabee and Sunderland foundations gifts and a $3.5 million lead gift from Vita Goppert, a longtime Avila supporter for whom the building is named. The new Goppert Performing Arts Center is expected to be completed by fall of 2018.