August 2020 Update: A plan, a challenge, and your help:

Dear Waldo Friends,

I hope this finds you and your loved ones thriving as we all head outside this summer after a long isolation. Here at The Waldo, great things are coming and I want to share important news with you.

As the pandemic sent us all into global quarantine, many of us looked towards the arts - for inspiration and hope, and to be honest, as a fun distraction from our worries. We streamed live performances of music, theatre, and dance as a way to keep our imaginations dreaming of better times to come. We knew streaming wouldn't be the same experience as witnessing these shows in person with family and friends, but it was a way to safely stay in touch with that feeling of spontaneous fun, together.

When the time comes for us to gather again, we’re grateful that friends like you will be looking to The Waldo for those performance experiences. With Maine well into the reopening process already, we see the strong likelihood of theatres opening this fall. We plan to be ready.

How is work on the theatre progressing?

Some work on the theatre was suspended during the height of COVID-19, but planning and grant-writing continued. In June, we got back to work on renovations and upgrades, particularly the essential work needed to open our doors: projection, audio, and lighting technology, and occupancy health and safety needs. We’re closely monitoring updates to the State’s reopening guidelines and are in touch with fellow venues in the region about steps we can all take to ensure audiences feel safe and comfortable.

How is the Capital Campaign going?Here’s our news:

By January 2020, we had raised an impressive $300,000 toward our fundraising goal of $700,000 for the first three phases of the project. We wanted to stick to our plan to open in 2020, to keep faith with our funders and to allow for fundraising from new audiences, but knew this amount would not be enough, due in part to some fall exterior expense overruns and the cost of contemporary technology.

We next met with area banking representatives about the possibility of a bridge loan. The team at The First saw our commitment to the project and the support of foundations and the community, and generously agreed to give us a $200,000 construction line of credit to complete essential work this year. That line allowed us to proceed with technology and renovations this spring and summer, and to give business to Maine service providers during these uncertain economic times. We have the option of converting the line of credit into a mortgage to be paid from future operating revenues.

The Challenge:

That left $200,000 needed toward our goal, with more renovations to complete afterwe open.

An anonymous donor has come forward to award a matching challenge grant. The donor will provide a one-time grant of $43,000 to The Waldo building project if our community can help us raise the balance of $157,000 by December 2020. If we meet this challenge, the grant will provide the final piece of our campaign goal.

Wait, there’s more news: Since receiving the challenge in February, we have already raised $44,000 toward that goal and applied for pending grants totalling $45,000. We’re grateful to Maine Community Foundation’s Lincoln County Fund, Maine Preservation and the 1772 Foundation, and the individuals who have helped already this year.

Now we ask for your help, in a gift large or small, to help us raise the remaining$68,000, to meet the challenge by the end of the year. Any funds raised above this amount will go to pay down the line of credit and reduce the size of the mortgage.

You can make a donation of cash or transfer shares of stock. Under the CARES Act there is now no limit to the deductions you can take for charitable contributions if you itemize your contributions.

The Board of Directors and I want to see the theatre open for you and for our entire community. We’re committed to making The Waldo an inclusive and accessible place for all to experience live music and theatre, movies, and community events.

Please make your commitment to the future of The Waldo today. Your gift will help us meet this game-changing challenge and - finally - open our doors wide to our wonderful community.

With thanks and my very best wishes,

Kate Fletcher

Executive Director

Please make a gift today to help The Waldo meet this challenge!