IRT campaign offers challenge gift


In February 2019, the Indiana Repertory Theatre publicly announced its $18.5 million Front and Center capital campaign to raise funds for the IRT’s immediate needs and sustainability.

The IRT has raised more than $17.9 million. To help lift the IRT to surpass this goal, honorary campaign co-chairs Sarah and John Lechleiter have presented a challenge gift. If the campaign reaches $19 million, the Lechleiters will donate an additional $1 million, topping the campaign at $20 million and extending the value of each donation given so far to Front and Center.

“We are excited by the impact this challenge gift from Sarah and John Lechleiter will have on the work of the IRT, and we are grateful for their leadership,” stated Jennifer C. Turner, director of development. “When we began planning the Front and Center Campaign, the IRT identified $24 million in current and future sustainability needs, and this challenge gift will help the IRT work towards meeting those priorities.

“We hope that the community will join in supporting the IRT’s Front and Center Campaign so we can reach $19 million and achieve the additional $1 million gift.”

Campaign contributions will allow the IRT to further invest in the community by using professional theater to make Indianapolis a more vibrant place for cultural expression, economic vitality and an informed, engaged citizenry, officials said.

Focused on innovation, efficiency, education and sustainability, the key areas of investment include deepening IRT’s commitment to new work and multigenerational work; outfitting the performance spaces and artisan shops with state-of-the-art technologies; maintaining the nearly 100-year-old historic building; and growing the IRT’s endowment from $12 million to $24 million to ensure the IRT will produce impactful theater generation after generation.

Thanks to a major campaign gift from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, the IRT unveiled the remodeled Upperstage Lobby and Cabaret Lobby earlier this season. Other work the campaign has already supported include the addition of lighting, projection and sound technologies and new safety features for staff and audiences.

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