In the News

Posted on February 07, 2023

This article was originally published by the Black Hills Pioneer

LEAD — Encouraging more people to invest in the success of the Homestake Opera House is vitally important to a successful capital campaign aimed toward restoration and renovation.

Giving a $150 donation toward helping the Homestake Opera House achieve its $4.8 million capital campaign fundraising goal doesn’t seem like it will go far.

But if 2,000 people give $150, that number becomes $300,000

If 1,000 people give $250, that number soon becomes $250,000.

If 500 people pledge $500, that number is another $250,000

And if those people give that amount every year for five years, the opera house will have raised $4 million toward restoration efforts.

Then, if that same number of people helps reach outside of the Lead community, to anyone who may have ties to the opera house, those funds can grow even more.

This was the message Historic Homestake Opera House board members and staff presented a crowd of residents at their Lead Forward event, Tuesday evening. The event was intended to update residents on the $8 million capital campaign fundraising goal, which will pay for restoration and renovation efforts at the opera house. So far, board members and staff have helped raise $3.3 million, with more than $4 million left to go.

“We’ve been so fortunate to have these really generous, large donors who have come in and put a cornerstone on the foundation of our capital campaign,” Board Member Steve Rice said at the meeting. “But we can’t just sit and wait for the big whale donors to show up. We as a community need to jump in as well.”

The push for more local donations and solicitations to those who may have ties to the Lead community but who have moved away came as Ainsworth-Benning Construction and Western States Fire Protection crews planned to start construction in the opera house theater to install a fire suppression system — the first of many priorities outlined in the capital campaign plan. The restoration and renovation plan also includes an HVAC system, lights and sound, stage framework, cosmetic restoration and a new elevator to increase ADA accessibility and make it easier to move equipment on to the stage. Opera House officials hope to spend this year fundraising to meet the capital campaign goal, with most other construction starting next year.

Homestake Opera House Development Director Christine Allen said in addition to pledge cards for the community, the opera house is also offering glass piggy banks for a “kids coin drive” that will get Lead’s youngest residents involved. Anyone who makes a pledge between now and March 17 will receive a special T-shirt to acknowledge their contribution.

Additionally, Allen said interested persons can help the opera house by spreading the word about the opera house and its mission, by liking and commenting on social media posts, and by encouraging community groups to become involved and volunteer.

“This is an exciting time to live in Lead and to join along with the restoration of the opera house in Lead,” Allen said.

“This is a three to five year play,” Rice said. “This is the long term for the restoration of this organization. I want to thank you who are here. You kept this place alive. The reason it is still here is because of you. Through a fire, through a global pandemic, this place still turns on the lights. The community is the opera house. We cannot do it without you. Otherwise, we’re just an empty building. When they write the story of Lead and the opera house, they’ll talk about the Homestake Mine of course. They’ll talk about Thomas Grier and Phoebe Hearst, and all these people who have a place in history. But if we’re brave, they may never know our names, but they’ll know there was a band of brothers and sisters who in January 2023 dared to do what seemed impossible in this town of Lead."

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