Royal Credit Union Foundation awards grant to The Zephyr Theatre

The RCU Foundation presented its $150,000 grant check to The Zephyr Theatre in April. Left to right, first row: Zephyr Board member Elissa Cottle; Zephyr Artistic Directore Calyssa Hall; RCU Foundation Board representatives Tom Huffcutt, Doug Olson, Meg Chiodo and President John Sacket; RCU mortgage loan officer RCU mortgage loan officer; RCU branch manager Faith Pfeiffer; and Zephyr Board Treasurer John Grzybek. Second row: Zephyr Board Vice Chair Franz Hall; Zephyr Board member Teary O'Hara; RCU Grant and Giving Coordinator Heather Johnson Schmitz; Zephyr General Manager Charles Rouse Jr.; and Zephyr webmaster Celia Wirth.

The RCU Foundation presented its $150,000 grant check to The Zephyr Theatre in April. Left to right, first row: Zephyr Board member Elissa Cottle; Zephyr Artistic Directore Calyssa Hall; RCU Foundation Board representatives Tom Huffcutt, Doug Olson, Meg Chiodo and President John Sacket; RCU mortgage loan officer RCU mortgage loan officer; RCU branch manager Faith Pfeiffer; and Zephyr Board Treasurer John Grzybek. Second row: Zephyr Board Vice Chair Franz Hall; Zephyr Board member Teary O’Hara; RCU Grant and Giving Coordinator Heather Johnson Schmitz; Zephyr General Manager Charles Rouse Jr.; and Zephyr webmaster Celia Wirth.

The Gazette, Apr 20, 2019  Community support for The Zephyr Theatre grew by $150,000 this month thanks to the Royal Credit Union (RCU) Foundation. These funds will be dedicated to the construction renovations at The Zephyr Theatre’s building in Stillwater, at 601 Main St. N.

“The Zephyr Theatre offers an impressive array of arts performances and education offerings,” said RCU Foundation President John Sackett. “We are delighted to support their expansion and deepen our relationship with Stillwater and the surrounding communities.”

In appreciation, The Zephyr Theatre granted the foundation naming rights for its visiting area, now called the “RCU Lounge.” An RCU Foundation plaque will be affixed to the wall of the lounge, where theatre-goers have comfortable space for socializing before and after performances.

The RCU Foundation focuses on large-scale, capital projects that help build community and create the spaces where people come together. RCU serves the community with 23 branches in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including its newest branch at 13161 60th St. N. in Oak Park Heights.

“The theatre’s focus on professional theatrical and arts events coupled with their arts education and collaboration with local schools fit with the foundation’s goal to make a positive impact,” noted Sackett.

“We are truly honored by this amazing gift,” said Zephyr Theatre Artistic Director Calyssa Hall, “and know that its impact will be far reaching in our dreams and goals for the theatre, as well as for the artists, patrons, and youth that gather here.”

On behalf of The Zephyr Theatre Board of Trustees, Interim Chair Gary Solomonson added, “I would like to express our deepest appreciation to the RCU Foundation for their grant to support the ongoing maintenance of the property while we continue to develop our fund-raising campaign. The Zephyr Theatre is committed to contributing to a positive sense of community. Our newly named RCU Lounge is a wonderful way to represent community-building.”

The RCU Foundation grant is among many donations, large and small, to The Zephyr Theatre. In its first fund-raising phase, in 2018, the theatre purchased the building at the site of the former Zephyr train depot/restaurant. The Zephyr Theatre is now in its next fund-raising phase, seeking $4 million to add a 330-seat auditorium onto the north end of the building, and to renovate the existing site.

In the meantime, The Zephyr Theatre operates two stage areas for performances, with 100 seats in the south end and 90 seats in the north end of the building. The production company currently offers year-round professional live theatre, concerts, film, visual and literary arts events, and theatre arts classes for youth and adults. The Zephyr Theatre also offers rental event space for community businesses and organizations.

Donations to The Zephyr Theatre, a nonprofit organization, are tax-deductible. For more information visit stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org. For more information about the Royal Credit Union and its foundation, visit rcu.org.

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