Final Push

if matched, $1.5M challenge grant will put Confluence over top

Tom Giffey

A newly announced $1.5 million challenge grant will put fundraising for the Confluence Arts Center over the top – as long as donors chip in another $1.5 million to meet the challenge in the coming months. If met, the “Breaking New Ground” challenge will raise $3 million, which – coupled with the roughly $12.5 million already raised – will push private donations to nearly $16 million and allow groundbreaking to occur in September.

The challenge grant, which was announced by the project’s backers June 2 at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council’s annual Jubilee fundraiser at the Florian Gardens, is backed by a group of anonymous donors who are eager to see the project succeed.

“We have received such tremendous support from so many who can see the future of our community through the construction of the Confluence Arts Center,” said Jill Barland, who co-chairs the fundraising committee with her husband, Tom. “This generous challenge match of $1.5 million is the final major endeavor to ensure we will indeed break ground in September. With the goal so close at hand, we believe there are people and companies who want to make this dream a reality and are ready to commit.”

Here’s how it will work: The challenge donors will match all pledges and gifts (up to $1.5 million) received by Sept. 30, and donors will have until Dec. 31 to make the first payments on their pledges. Pledges can be extended over five years, and they will be accepted by either the Eau Claire Community Foundation or the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. Learn more by contacting Susan Bornick, executive director of the Community Foundation, at (715) 552-3801, or Kimera Way, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, at (715) 836-5180. You can also visit communityfortheconfluence.org for more information.

The Confluence Arts Center will be a $45 million, 130,000-square-foot shared university-community facility on Graham Avenue in downtown Eau Claire near the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. The art center, which is slated to open by March 2018, will be funded by private donations as well as money from the state, city, and county.