Support The Bonham Theatre
Bonham Theatre Project
PO Box 22
Daykin, NE 68338
Email Us: BonhamTheatreProject@gmail.com
In the summer of 2012 after 86 years of operation, the Bonham Theater closed. Shortly thereafter, a group of citizens called a meeting and began to organize. A facebook group was formed and quickly grew to 1,500 members. After a series of meetings, a non-profit organization was formed. The building has been purchased and fund raising is now underway to rehabilitate and reopen the theatre, preserving this cultural and entertainment venue for generations to come.
Join Bonham Theatre Project Today - Memberships $25
It is the intention of the Board to raise funds annually for administrative expenses by selling annual memberships to the Bonham Theatre Project for $25. Members will have the right to vote on matters presented to the membership at annual and special meetings, including the election of the BTP board of directors. Memberships can be directed to Bonham Theatre Project, PO Box 22, Daykin, NE 68338.
Bonham Theatre Project Capital Campaign - Project 1,000
The Bonham Theatre Project is seeking 100 individuals to donate $1,000 or more and 1000 individuals to donate $100 or more. Your tax-deductible donation can be sent to Bonham Theatre Project, PO Box 22, Daykin, NE 68338
Bonham Theatre Project Chair-ity Campaign
Help us kick off our "Chair-ity" campaign. For a contribution of $250 your name will be permanently attached to a seat. All other donations will be acknowledged on our recognition wall.
News from The Bonham Theatre Project ...
Bonham Theatre Project Hires Construction Supervisor/Project Manager
Bonham Theatre Project has taken another step forward in reopening the downtown theater with the hiring of a construction supervisor/ project manager. Fairbury native and alum Randy Fisbeck assumed this position last week.
Fisbeck will coordinate all work with the building’s architect and consultants, managing all volunteers and contractors on site during the Phase 1 work. This phase will include the renovation of the lobby, restrooms area and the main floor theatre. Fisbeck brings a total of 13 years of project management and general contracting building custom homes that range from 1,200 square-foot to 7,200 square-foot and light commercial projects, including a day care, office buildings, high-rise condos, and apartments.
"It's an honor to have the opportunity to work on a project like the Bonham Theatre, especially in my hometown of Fairbury and I look forward to working with the great people who have put so much time and effort into the project already. The theatre truly is a staple of the community that I grew up in and I personally can't wait for it to be operational again," Fisbeck said.
Board President Brooke Schwab said the BTP Board is very excited about this appointment.
"We are looking forward to having an expert in construction as part of our team. We hope that not only will this help move the project forward but also help us get more bang for our buck. Randy has already started looking for way to help us save," Schwab said.
BTP members continue to look for additional fundraising opportunities. The group will help with the 3rd Annual Blues Festival Jan. 23 at Stagecoach Mall with a portion of the proceeds going to BTP. Tickets can be purchased for $35 from any board member or a link to ticket sales can also be found on fairbury.com. A number of talented blues bands and musicians will perform at the event. The ticket price includes a BBQ meal cooked by Totally Smoked BBQ and all entertainment costs.
BTP will hold its annual membership meeting on Sunday, Jan. 24 at the American Lutheran Church at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend and current members are encouraged to come hear the annual review. Election of board members will also be conducted at the meeting.
2016 Blues Festival To
Benefit Bonham Theatre Project
January 2016 - The 3rd annual Winter Blues Festival is scheduled for Saturday, January 23rd, in The Tasting Room, inside Stagecoach Mall in downtown Fairbury. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m., festival will start at 4 p.m. and feature several blues acts, a cash bar and BBQ ribs with all the fixin's. The festival is co-sponsored by Fairbury.com and Totally Smoked BBQ.
This year’s blues festival will feature musicians who regularly play blues shows around the region. Taking the stage at 4 p.m., Howlin' Steve Howell is a blues and American folk singer/songwriter from Oregon and comes to Fairbury by way of the blues clubs in Kansas City. Howell has shared the stage with greats such as the Kinsey Report, Tommy Castro, and Carl Weathersby. For years Howell traveled with his band "The Soulshakers" and also played with Fat Cat Freddy. Now a solo artist, Howell is returning to Fairbury as singer/songwriter, playing guitar.
The 5 p.m. time slot will feature Enigma, the ultimate acoustic duo, who will be returning to their blues roots for the festival. Enigma’s soulful delivery and broad appeal makes them a crowd favorite.
At 7 p.m., “Lil’ Slim” Shawn Holt will take the stage, joined by Jared Alberico, John “Honeyboy” Turner, Jeff Boehmer, and Ryan Larson, all of Lincoln.
Holt is the son of Blues Legend Magic Slim. He started playing the blues at the age of 17, when he went on the road with this father and Slim's brother, Uncle Nick Holt and the award winning band, The Teardrops. Shawn is now following in the footsteps of his father, having toured the globe as Holt and The Teardrops, winning awards including “Best New Artist Debut” for hit song, “Daddy Told Me” on Blind Pig Records.
Alberico aka "Super Blues Party" has been playing the blues, both as a solo artist and in various groups for many years. Jared has shared with stage with great blues musicians such as Magic Slim, Lil' Slim, and plays in groups including The Blues Teachers.
John “Honeyboy” Turner has been delivering Chicago-style blues to hundreds of clubs and venues in Lincoln, Omaha and throughout the Midwest. In 1995, the Honeyboy Turner Band released their first full-length album, "Preachin' The Blues" and has been featured on nationally-syndicated radio programs.
Jeff Boehmer and Ryan Larson are former members of Shawn Holt's first band the Back Alley Blues Band. Boehmer is co-owner of the legendary Zoo Bar in Lincoln and Larson owns Roots Music in Lincoln.
Tickets for the festival are $35 per person, with proceeds benefitting the Bonham Theatre Project, whose mission is to renovate and reopen the historic theatre in downtown Fairbury as a movie house and entertainment venue.
A limited number of tickets are available online at www.Fairbury.com or at the Fairbury Chamber of Commerce, Starr-Buckow Insurance and Stagecoach Mall Antiques in Fairbury, and from Bonham Theatre Project board members.
For more information, visit www.Fairbury.com or call 402.613.2064
Bonham Theatre Project Board of Directors
Wins Community Service Award
Presented by The Fairbury Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors at the Annual Chamber Banquet, held at the Fairbury Elks Lodge on Friday, Feb 6th, 2014.
Rebuilding A Piece Of Southeast Nebraska History
For 86 years, the Bonham Theatre has been an entertainment staple in Fairbury, Nebraska. Known in its earlier days as ‘the showplace of Southeast Nebraska’, the theatre opened in 1926 as a vaudeville stage and movie theatre and has since drawn residents from Fairbury, Jefferson County and surrounding areas such as Northern Kansas. So when the theatre was forced to close its doors in August of 2012 due to a lack of funding for the digital conversion of projection equipment, Fairbury residents and theatre goers alike decided to take action.
“There was much concern because it was one of the only entertainment venues that there is in town other than things related to the school system,” said Debby Ebke, Treasurer of the Bonham Theatre Project.
According to Ebke, the closure of the theatre had a huge impact on the community. Not only did residents lose one of the only entertainment venues in town (the local bowling center also closed in 2013), but the entertainment opportunities available for youth has significantly diminished. Maintaining and recruiting families and professionals to the area has also become more difficult and less traffic in downtown Fairbury has hurt businesses near the theatre.
However, shortly after the theatre closed, a group of Fairbury citizens formed a non-profit organization called the Bonham Theatre Project (BTP) with one goal in mind; bring the historic theatre back to life. Since then the organization has been able to purchase the theatre and fundraising efforts are well under way to rehabilitate and reopen the theatre.
TransCanada is one of the many organizations who have stepped up to help this key project move forward. The Keystone Projects team donated $15,000 this year and plan on donating another $10,000 next year to assist with the revitalization of the historic theatre. Ebke says the response from organizations has been great and that the project wouldn’t be possible without some major players involved.
“We couldn’t do this project without some of the support from the larger organizations, such as TransCanada and I do know this is one more way that TransCanada can show that they are being a good neighbor to us in Nebraska…” said Ebke.
TransCanada has had operations in Nebraska since the early 1980’s and in particular, has close ties to Fairbury and Jefferson County – the original Keystone Pipeline already crosses through the county and the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would do the same. Getting involved and showing our support for the areas we operate is an important part of TransCanada’s culture. Our donations to the communities along our pipeline routes are much more than just donation’s, they are about showing the communities that we care and that we are committed to being a good neighbor.
Mark Johnson, Community Relations Advisor for TransCanada, says one of the enticing things about being involved in the Bonham Theatre Project is its history and impact it has had on the community.
“The theatre has some great history and this project fits perfectly with our company’s goal of helping to build stronger, more vibrant communities in the areas where we work and live,” says Johnson.
BTP has big plans for the future of the theatre. The money raised will go towards rebuilding the theatre into a reasonably priced art and entertainment venue that offers patrons things such as movies, video game playing, live streaming of concerts and events, live events, and rental opportunities for parties and receptions. Ebke says the donation from TransCanada could go towards something extra special for the theatre.
“I think we are on track to raise enough money to cover the basic core ADA, fire, safety and all the reopening code things… the TransCanada gift can maybe allow us to do something extra, something special, like new balcony seating,” said Ebke.
First National Bank Donates $10,000 to Bonham Theatre Project
Neighbors helping neighbors definitely describes the continued generosity of The First National Bank-Fairbury and the Pfaff family with their recent $10,000 contribution to the Bonham Theatre Project. As supporters of the Bonham Theatre Project from its inception, this $10,000 donation completes the $50,000 matching grant from The Sherwood Foundation, which was offered to BTP in April 2014.
Their initial $1,000 contribution aided BTP in formally organizing as a nonprofit corporation. Additional contributions totally $15,000 assisted in the acquisition of the building and contents. “The real effort is not in providing the financial support, but in the people who come together in turning a vision into reality,” said Tiffany Pfaff.
The Pfaff/Burkley connection to the Bonham Theatre goes back to its establishment. Barbara (Burkley) Pfaff is the great-niece to Luther Bonham, the namesake of the Bonham Theatre and in 1913 co-owner of the newly consolidated First National Bank of Fairbury. In 1926 Luther Bonham, as President of FNB, put together financing to construct the Bonham Theatre in conjunction with local investors and Universal Production Company.
Revitalizing Fairbury with a theatre is both a business and personal interest to the Pfaffs. “The continued existence of Fairbury and its residents has been the main priority to us through every generation of our family,” said Vernon Pfaff. “This is something that we also strive in helping our surrounding communities as well.”
“We are extremely grateful for the financial support of Vern and Barb, (daughter) Tiffany, The Burkley Family Fund, and The First National Bank,” said Brooke Schwab, president. “In a small town, we have to depend on each other because our futures are interconnected. It is reassuring to know the Pfaffs share this vision.”
$225,000 awarded for Bonham Theatre Project in Fairbury
The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) has awarded the City of Fairbury with $225,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in the Tourism Development category to renovate the Bonham Theatre.
In turn, the City will award the funding to the Bonham Theatre Project (BTP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that has secured financial support and contributions from foundations, businesses, and local individuals.
Additional funding of $553,834 from BTP, including challenge grant awards from the Peter Kiewit Foundation and The Sherwood Foundation, and pledges supported by state tax credits awarded through DED’s Community Development Assistance Act, will complete the project.
Renovations will include removal of materials and architectural barriers that restrict mobility of and accessibility by elderly and persons with disabilities. Additional renovations will include the installation of ramps and handicap viewing platforms, easier access to the lobby, fire protection measures, plumbing, restrooms and electrical work.
The refurbishment and reopening of the Bonham Theatre is expected to attract regional audiences from southeast Nebraska and northern Kansas for quality activities, including movies, theater productions, art showings and educational workshops. Additionally BTP is expected to help anchor Fairbury’s historic and social appeal as it is surrounded by lodging properties, and dining and shopping venues, all within walking distance.
The theatre operated for 86 years from the day its doors opened in 1926 until it was shuttered at the end of 2012. For many years it lived up to its name “the Showcase of Southeast Nebraska.” However, when faced with the high costs of transitioning to digital projection in 2012, the owners made the difficult decision to close the theatre. Soon after, Fairbury citizens organized and formed BTP.
Federal funds are made available to DED from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s CDBG program to assist with the development of businesses and communities throughout the state. Funding requests for the program are administered by DED and available to local governments with populations less than 50,000 and counties in Nebraska.
For information about the Fairbury project, contact Sharyl Preston, City Clerk, at 402-729-3906 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about CDBG Tourism Development funding, contact Steve Charleston at 800-426-6505, 402-471-3757, or email@example.com.
Union Bank & Trust Donates $10,000 to Bonham Theatre Project
Union Bank & Trust donated $10,000 to assist the revitalization efforts of the historic Bonham Theatre. The funds, which will be disbursed over a 2 year period, will help the non-profit group reach their fundraising milestone to begin renovations.
"Fairbury has a rich history, and the Bonham Theatre is a key part of that" said Jen Walton, Branch Manager. "With the support of the entire community, the Theatre can once again be an active part of Fairbury’s downtown area."
Debby Ebke, Treasurer of the Bonham Theatre Project, stated, “We’re very encouraged by the support of Union Bank & Trust, and all of our area businesses. By coming together, we are truly a stronger community.”
Union Bank & Trust Company is a privately owned, Nebraska bank that offers complete banking, lending, investment and trust services. The bank has thirty-six full service and loan production offices in Nebraska and Kansas. In addition to Fairbury and Lincoln, branches are located in nineteen Nebraska communities and the Kansas City metro area. It is the third largest privately-owned bank in Nebraska with bank assets of $2.8 billion and trust assets of $13.9 billion as of June 30, 2014.
Best Choice Save-A-Label Program Benefits Bonham Theatre
Ray's Apple Market in Fairbury and Best Choice products now make it easier than ever to donate to the Bonham Theatre Project. Fundraising for The Bonham Theatre Project is easy, thanks to the Best Choice label program. Already, more than 11,000 groups are cashing in, using the Save-A-Label program.
The Save-A-Label program is an extremely successful program, which helps non-profit organizations raise money. Currently, there are over 11,000 non-profit groups that participate in the program. These groups earn $.03 for each Best Choice UPC symbol redeemed, with a minimum of 1,000 labels required for redemption. This program represents more than 1.2 million cases of Best Choice products purchased by consumers in one year. "We have thousands of Best Choice products at our store, and they're all national-brand quality, but at 10% to 20% under the national price. We believe Best Choice is a best-bet for your fund raising needs," according to Ron Winslow, manager.
Start collecting Best Choice product labels, (be sure to keep the UPCs or "proofs of purchase") and turn them in at the customer service counter. "The program is all set up and ready to go – just drop off your labels and we take care of the rest," according to Michelle Hoffman, Ray's Apple Market employee and Bonham Theatre Project volunteer.
The Bonham Theatre Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to reopen the historic Bonham Theatre in downtown Fairbury.
Westin Packaged Meats Donates $5K To Bonham Theatre Project
Westin Packaged Meats of Fairbury announced this week that it will donate $5,000 to the Bonham Theatre Project (BTP) as part of their ongoing commitment to the project. Westin Packaged Meats is a subsidiary of Westin Foods, an industry leader in the production of bacon bits, with two plants located in Fairbury. According to Ron Schacht, Fairbury Operations General Manager, “We want to see the Bonham Theatre Project successfully complete the renovations of the theatre so that the citizens of Fairbury will once again be able to enjoy movies here.”
Since April, the Bonham Theatre Project has been active in securing matching grant monies from various sources including The Sherwood Foundation ($50,000). According to BTP treasurer Debby Ebke, “We have contributions and fundraising dollars since The Sherwood Foundation match began on April 17th totaling $21,173. Therefore, we still need $28,827 to earn those matching funds.” She added, “Donations of $1,000 or more have a triple benefit beyond helping the Bonham Theatre Project. They are tax deductible, they are matched by The Sherwood Foundation, and they earn the donor a 40% Nebraska income tax credit.”
According to BTP president Brooke Schwab, now is a great time to donate to the Bonham Theatre Project. “A set of plans has been finalized that will return the theatre to its former glory and donating to this project will not only benefit the donor financially, but contribute positively to the quality of life in our community, long into the future.”
The mission of the Bonham Theatre Project is to rehabilitate and reopen the historic Bonham Theatre as an arts and entertainment venue in downtown Fairbury. For more information log on to www.BonhamTheatreProject.org or on facebook at www.Facebook.com/BonhamTheatreProject.
Bonham Theatre Project Announces Donor Tax Credit
For the Bonham Theatre Project, good news arrived recently with two significant monetary plans, which will help generate fundraising momentum to renovate the historic Bonham Theatre in downtown Fairbury.
Bonham Theatre Project has received approval from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) for qualification of the renovation of the Bonham Theatre under the Community Development Assistance Act (CDAA). CDAA empowers DED to distribute a 40 percent (40%) state income tax credit to businesses or individuals who make eligible contributions to approved community betterment projects.
Bonham Theatre Project gathered pledges during the month of April to demonstrate community commitment to DED. Fulfilled pledges will generate the tax credit, as will new contributions.
WHO CAN RECEIVE TAX CREDITS FROM BONHAM THEATRE PROJECT?
Any person or business that donates $1,000 or more is eligible for the credit. For 2014 only cash and commodity donations will qualify.
WHAT IS THE LIMIT?
The minimum donation is $1,000 and the maximum is $62,500. The credits will be allocated by Bonham Theatre Project on a first-come, first-served basis until the $25,000 income tax credit limit is reached. Bonham Theatre Project can apply to DED for additional credits if significant interest warrants.
$1,000 donation X 40% = $400 state income tax credit
$5,000 donation X 40% = $2,000 state income tax credit
$10,000 donation X 40% = $4,000 state income tax credit
HOW DO I RECEIVE MY TAX CREDITS?
After making an eligible contribution to Bonham Theatre Project the business or individual must complete and submit Form CDAA1 to DED, along with proof of the contribution. DED will then send the contributor copies of the completed Form 1099NTC to be attached to the contributor’s state income tax return. Bonham Theatre Project will assist in providing the needs forms to file.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO CLAIM A CREDIT?
The credit must be claimed on the income tax return for the year in which the contribution is made. Any tax credit balance may be carried over and applied against the tax liability for the next five years immediately succeeding the tax year in which the credit was first properly claimed and allowed.
Please contact Debby Ebke, Treasurer at 402-446-7436, 402-300-7146 (cell), or firstname.lastname@example.org
Additionally, Bonham Theatre Project has also been awarded a $50,000 challenge grant by The Sherwood Foundation to address fire, life safety, and ADA requirements. The Sherwood Foundation will match the next $50,000 raised by Bonham Theatre Project with a contribution of $50,000.
"These two developments are exciting news for Bonham Theatre Project," said treasurer Debby Ebke. "Each $1,000 contributed to Bonham Theatre Project will qualify the donor for state income tax credit in addition to generating a matching contribution. For example: a $1,000 donation will not only yield the donor a state tax credit of $400, but it will be matched for a combined $2,000 benefit to Bonham Theatre Project – a win-win scenario for all. Bonham Theatre Project is very grateful for the support of DED and The Sherwood Foundation"
Boham Theatre Project Recieves Matching Contributions
Bonham Theatre Project is the recent beneficiary of a combined $5,000 donation from Brian and Sabina Coordsen and Phillips 66. The Coordsens contributed $2,500, which was matched by Brian’s employer, Phillips 66.
"My wife and I grew up in and around Fairbury and we went to many movies at the Bonham," said Brian. "We’ve also taken our kids to movies at the Bonham when back in Fairbury visiting family so they could enjoy it too. We gave because the project is a great cause."
According to Community Investments spokesperson Rhea King, Phillips 66 recognizes that its employees are the company’s best liaisons with communities. "Offering a lucrative matching gift program that allows employees and retirees to double the impact of their donations encourages support and involvement in nonprofit organizations," said King.
"BTP is very appreciative of employee/employer matching programs," said Debby Ebke, BTP treasurer. "I am happy to work with any company to qualify for matching contributions."
Previously, BTP received $1,000 each from Tyler & Michelle Stewart and The Toro Foundation. The Toro Company, Exmark Manufacturing in Beatrice, employs Michelle.
About Phillips 66: Built on more than 130 years of experience, Phillips 66 is a growing energy manufacturing and logistics company with high-performing Midstream, Chemicals, Refining, and Marketing and Specialties businesses. This integrated portfolio enables Phillips 66 to capture opportunities in the changing energy landscape. Headquartered in Houston, the company has 13,500 employees who are committed to operating excellence and safety. Phillips 66 had $50 billion of assets as of Dec. 31, 2013. For more information, visit www.phillips66.com or follow us on Twitter @Phillips66Co.
Bowls For Bonham Raises $1,500
February 2014 - The 2nd annual Bowls For Bonham Soup Luncheon was held this past Sunday in the Tasting Room in downtown Fairbury. More than 125 people attended the event and over $1,500 was raised, according to treasurer, Debby Ebke.
A fundraiser for the Bonham Theatre Project, the Bowls For Bonham event featured specially-designed bowls made by nationally-known artist, Lucky Stradley, which could be purchased for $15. Soup, sandwiches and desserts were served while attendees enjoyed live music provided by Fairbury musician David Hunt.
Bowls are still available at Stagecoach Mall Antiques and Tasting Room, open weekends. "Heart-shaped bowls, new to this year’s event, sold out quickly but more will be available for purchase in approximately three weeks," according to board member Julie Katz.
The Bonham Theatre Project's mission is to renovate and reopen the historic theatre as a movie and entertainment venue. Watch for updates online at www.BonhamTheatreProject or on facebook at www.Facebook.com/BonhamTheatreProject.
Blues Festival Nets Over $2K for
Bonham Theatre Project
February 2014 - Blues fans came together for the first-ever Winter Blues Festival to raise money for the Bonham Theatre Project in Fairbury. According to Debby Ebke, Bonham Theatre Project treasurer, more than $2,000 was raised to assist the Bonham Theatre Project with efforts to renovate and reopen the 88-year old movie theatre, located in the downtown historic district. "It was a great event," said Ebke.
The Tasting Room inside Stagecoach Mall Antiques provided the backdrop for the festival. Festival goers enjoyed blues music from featured three acts - Emily Bass, Jared’s Super Blues Party and Howlin’ Steve Howell. BBQ ribs and all the fixin’s were provided by Totally Smoked BBQ, owned by CB Snider of Fairbury. The Fairbury Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored the sold-out event, which drew more than 125 people.
"Everyone who came had a great time and there is talk of a repeat, perhaps on the 4th of July, which just happens to fall on a first Friday," according to Julie Katz, owner of The Tasting Room and coordinator of Fairbury’s First Friday events. "Live music and great food always bring people together, and it’s for a great cause!"
The next fundraiser for the Bonham Theatre Project will be a soup luncheon called "Bowls For Bonham" on Sunday, February 16th from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in The Tasting Room featuring crock bowls made by artist Lucky Stradley. A variety of homemade soups, sandwiches and desserts will be available, plus live music provided by David Hunt of Fairbury.
For more information about the Bonham Theatre Project, log on to their website www.BonhamTheatreProject.org or find them on facebook.com/BonhamTheatreProject.
The Bonham Theatre Project board of directors has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about the status of the theater. Here is an update:
Q. It’s been reported that the Majestic Theatre in Hebron is open and showing digital movies for the cost of $60,000. Why, after raising more than $125,000, is the Bonham not able to be showing movies?
A. The two situations are very different in the fact that the Majestic never closed – it has remained open even thru the transition to digital conversion – the current owner of the Majestic agreed to deed it over to the nonprofit with no interruption. The Bonham, however, due to the closure and change of ownership, is now subject to a host of governmental regulations – fire code requirements (fire sprinklers, exits, etc.), ADA requirements (bathrooms, etc.), and those codes must be met prior to occupancy of any kind. They are also necessary for insurance. We cannot have any kind of public event in the building at all until issues are resolved and the fire marshal signs off and insurance can be obtained to cover occupancy.
Q. What must be done in order for the Bonham to reopen? Can’t we open, show movies and make repairs as we go?
A. Unfortunately, the code requirements for public safety and insurability are the catalyst for embarking on a much larger project than originally anticipated, which affects the timing, budget and scope of work. There are many issues that need to be addressed. Ceiling repairs (falling plaster) required us to remove the seats to make way for scaffolding. Façade repairs required removal of the marquee due to safety concerns. Handicap accessibility laws require the remodeling of the restrooms and the main theatre. Other unforeseen issues may cause delays in the overall schedule to reopen.
Q. What are the plans for the money that has been raised so far?
A. The money raised so will be used as leverage for grant and foundation funding (most require a 50/50 match). We are hoping to take the money raised so far and essentially double it or even triple it to do the necessary work to reopen the theatre. However, there is no guarantee that all requests will be funded; therefore fundraising will be an ongoing process.
Q. Who is the Board of Directors seeking guidance from to ensure that they are on the right path for this project?
A. The architectural firm Miller & Associates has been hired. They redesigned The World Theater in Kearney – a project nearly identical to the Bonham. The World had closed and in order to reopen had to address the same issues we are facing. The theatre is almost identical in layout, design and challenges. Working with Miller & Associates, the board feels their experience with The World Theatre project will put ours on the fastest track. Miller & Associates also employs grant writers and administrators who will help us maximize every dollar.
Q. What will it cost to reopen?
A. Cost estimates for the remodel will be available by January 2014. A recent bid places the cost of digital conversion of both theatres at $113,000 for new equipment.
Q. Will both theatres be reopened?
A. The Board of Directors is working on a multi-phase plan to reopen both theatres. Utilization of both screens will allow more options with regard to movie offerings and other uses of the theatres.
Q. Will the Bonham serve purposes other than just showing movies?
A. The community survey results indicate there is a desire amongst community members to utilize the Bonham for a variety of entertainment activities and events. Although the first priority is to bring movies back to Fairbury, the board of directors is committed to the viability and long-term success of the theatre. Since movies only may not generate enough revenue to sustain the theatre, we intend to transform the Bonham into a facility that will be able to host live events, receptions, etc. Additional entertainment options will provide supplemental revenue to support the theatre (utilizing a manager and volunteers). The first phase of the project will be to open the main theatre for movies. Additional phases will open the second theatre and allow the stage to be used for live entertainment.
Bonham Theatre Project Selects Architectural Firm
The Bonham Theatre Project has awarded the contract for Architectural Services to assist them with the restoration and remodeling of the historic Bonham Theatre, located in downtown Fairbury.
Miller and Associates of Kearney, Ne was selected to assist the Board of Directors with architectural services and proposal development. The Bonham Theatre Project will utilize a combination of public funds and private donations for façade restoration; replacement of marquee; remodeling of lobby area to accommodate concessions, ticket counter and restrooms; and the implementation of ADA and fire code requirements based upon specified uses and occupancy estimates. It is the desire of the Board to maintain the historical integrity of the building which was built in 1926 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing building in the Fairbury Commercial Historic District (1997).
In July, letters were sent to several firms requesting a statement of qualification. A subcommittee consisting of board members Debby Ebke, Brook Schwab and Julie Katz met and reviewed each proposal, judging and scoring each according to a point system based upon specific requirements relative to the project. Miller and Associates scored highest in the categories of staff capacity to write and administer grants as well as technical expertise due, in part, to its work on the World Theatre Project in Kearney (miller-engineers.com/projects). "The committee felt that the information, knowledge and expertise garnered from that project would greatly benefit the Bonham Theatre Project, putting our project on the fast track," according to Katz.
Board members will be touring the World Theater in Kearney and meeting with Miller & Associates staff at their offices next week. "Project manager Daniel Drain has already paid a visit to the theater, bringing with him a team of structural, mechanical and electrical engineers to assess the property and draft a phase I proposal, which should be delivered to the Board of Directors in early December," according to Ebke.
For more information about the Bonham Theatre Project, log on to www.BonhamTheatreProject.com or www.Facebook.com/BonhamTheatreProject.
Class of '63 Issues Challenge To Benefit Bonham Theatre
The Class of 1963 held their 50 year reunion August 9-11. As a part of their Saturday night meal they held a silent auction to raise money in honor of deceased classmates. The funds were then donated to Bonham Theatre Project. Board member Gene Thomas graduated in 1963 and attended the event and promoted awareness of the project, now in its early stages of redevelopment. According to Thomas, "It was a lot of fun and the money raised goes to a great project. The Bonham Theatre was a large part of all our classmates' memories."
According to Class of 1963 member Kent Davenport of Lincoln. "The Class of 1963 is pleased to donate $1,963.00 to the Bonham Theatre Project in memory of our deceased classmates. We raised this amount primarily in a silent auction. Many of our classmates brought items from the area in which they live, and all the classmates bid on them. We are proud we raised $1,963 and challenge other classes to raise money at least equal to the year in which they graduated."
The Bonham Theatre Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to reopen the historic Bonham Theatre in downtown Fairbury as a movie and entertainment venue. Information about the Bonham Theatre Project can be found online at www.BonhamTheatreProject.org and on facebook/BonhamTheatreProject.
Bonham Theatre Project
Announces Results of Community Survey
In March, 2013, the Bonham Theatre Project Board of Directors contacted the UNK Center for Rural Research & Development (CRRD) about conducting a community survey in Fairbury and the surrounding area. The Board drafted some key project planning and development issues regarding community needs and market feasibility for the rehabilitation of Fairbury's historic movie theater. The questionnaire was finalized in April 2013 and was divided into four areas of interest including: 1) Demographics, 2) Show Preferences, 3) Attendance Expectations, and 4) Other. All surveys were mailed on April 26, 2013. Surveys collected by May 17, 2013 were electronically scanned using University equipment and software. Funding for the survey was provided in part by a grant from the Sherwood Foundation.
Over 1,272 people returned a survey regarding their preferences for shows and attendance of the proposed redeveloped historic Bonham Theatre. The survey was completed by 232 junior or high school students and 1,040 household representatives age 19 and older. The data shows that just under half of the Fairbury area residents who responded would attend entertainment events at least 1‐2 times a month or more. 2D or 3D movies were reported as the most popular type of show (75% definitely or probably attending) with 72% of respondents that would definitely or probably attend live plays, and concerts and comedians recorded 70% in the positive.
The youth demographic age group (age 14‐18) shows stronger support regarding general movie attendance compared to the largest group of older survey respondents (age 55 and over).
More than half of all residents reported a willingness to drive more than 15 miles. Movies rated G, PG, and PG13 received slightly more support than R rated movies. Fridays and Saturdays had the highest preferences for attending evening movies based on the day‐of‐the‐week. But, Sunday received slightly more support for attending an afternoon matinee.
Sixty percent (60%) of respondents preferred digital projection, with live streamed concerts receiving the most support at 53% definitely or probably planning to attend this type of venue at the theatre. Nearly half of the people had interest in hosting birthday parties at the theatre.
"The results of the survey give us confidence that the community will not only support the theatre, but give us direction as to the types of entertainment they want to see there," according to board member, Julie Katz. "The survey results will be used as a basis for drafting a plan for the rehabilitation of the historic theater by identifying the renovations required to adequately serve the community and ensure the viability of the Bonham Theatre as a primary entertainment option for Fairbury and the surrounding communities for many years to come."
The Bonham Theatre Project is now seeking bids for the marquee.
Please call Brooke Schwab at 402.729.6121 for bid specs. Bids must be postmarked by August 1, 2013.
And The Survey Says…
The Bonham Theatre Project Board of Directors in April identified key project planning and development issues regarding community needs and market feasibility for the restoration and rehabilitation of the historic Bonham Theatre in downtown Fairbury. The survey results have now been tallied and will be published next week. "The community survey results are necessary to determine the direction and scope of the project and to lay the groundwork for grant applications," according to board member, Julie Katz. For news, updates, photos and more, visit their facebook page, www.facebook.com/bonhamtheatre.
Pizza Hut Plans Bonham Theatre
"Fun"raiser Aug 5th
The Fairbury Pizza Hut will be hosting a "fun"raiser event to benefit the Bonham Theatre Project on Monday, August 5th from 4 – 9 p.m. That evening, the Fairbury Pizza Hut will donate 20% of sales to the Bonham Theatre Project's Capital Campaign to raise funds for the restoration of Fairbury's historic movie theatre.
According to manager Amber Pierce, the Fairbury Pizza Hut Restaurant coupons will be available for dine-in and carry-out purchases that evening. Patrons presenting coupons at time of purchase will have 20% of their purchase donated to the project. Coupons are available online, at the Fairbury Chamber of Commerce or at the Fairbury Pizza Hut location. "Pizza Hut is proud to be part of the Fairbury community and we look forward to the opportunity to be involved in this very important project," stated Pierce.
Bonham Theatre Project board members and volunteers will be on hand that evening to visit with patrons and provide updates about the project. "We are still looking to recruit more members, collect information and photos of the Bonham Theatre and we invite everyone to eat at Pizza Hut that evening and share your memories of the theatre with us," according to BTP board member, Debby Ebke. "We appreciate Pizza Hut's commitment to our community and look forward to this event."
Click Here to download coupons
McDonald's Plans Fundraiser For
Bonham Theatre Project June 25
June 2013 - The Fairbury McDonald's Restaurant will be hosting a fundraising event to benefit the Bonham Theatre Project on Tuesday, June 25th. On that day, the Fairbury McDonald's Restaurant will donate 10% of sales to the Bonham Theatre Project's Capital Campaign to raise funds for the restoration of Fairbury's historic movie theatre.
The Fairbury McDonald's Restaurant opens at 6:00 am and 10% of all sales for the entire day (drive thru, dine in and carry out) will be donated. "McDonald's is proud to be part of the Fairbury community and we look forward to the opportunity to give back to the community," stated Jim Pike, owner.
Bonham Theatre Project board members and volunteers will be on hand that day during peak hours to visit with patrons and provide updates about the project. "We are still looking to recruit more members, collect information and photos of the Bonham Theatre and we invite everyone to eat at McDonald's that day and share your memories of the theatre with us," according to BTP board member, Debby Ebke. "We appreciate McDonald's commitment to our community and look forward to this event."
McDonald's has been a part of the Fairbury community since 1983.
Don Burton's Memories Of The Bonham Theatre (as told to Debby Ebke on Friday May 24, 2013):
Don Burton lived in Fairbury with his single mother and older sister Dorothy between 1936 and 1942. For the first couple of years his mother owned and operated the Carmel Corn shop located in the corner lot north of the Bonham Theatre. Don and Dorothy (labeled by their mother as the "popcorn kids") sold popcorn from trays strapped to their shoulders. Don remembers walking with his sister to the pavilion in the city park to sell the popcorn. He supposes they also sold to patrons of the Bonham Theatre since the theatre did not have a concession stand in the early years.
Don's mother was forced by the city to discontinue her Carmel Corn shop, after which she held other jobs. One job was as a waitress in a café across the street from the Pla-Mor Lanes/Café. At times, the Bonham Theatre served as a babysitter for Don. Don was given admission money and allowed to attend the theatre. After the show he was to walk down the alley west to the café.
Don especially liked to attend the triple-western days at the Bonham. For one price (Don recalls 5 cents) you could stay all day and watch three westerns, or even watch the westerns a second time. During the war years, Don remembers the Bonham Theatre held drives for the war effort. Admission was a desired commodity such as sheet metal, iron, or used cooking oil.
One day in the years 1938-1940 when Don was 5-7 years old, Don attended a triple-western day and got locked in the theatre. As was the practice of many youth, Don usually sat in the front rows of the theatre. On this particular day he sat in the second or third row. He fell asleep and later woke to a dark, locked theatre. The ushers had apparently missed seeing him before they left for the night. Don made his way to the lobby only to find no way to open the doors from the inside. He attempted to attract the attention of passersby. Eventually a couple walking by noticed Don in distress in the locked lobby. Communicating through the glass doors, Don requested help and the police were called. The manager arrived to unlock the doors and Don sought out his worried mother.
Don wonders if he was the only child ever locked into the Bonham Theatre.
If you have memories of the Bonham Theatre to share, please contact Debby Ebke at 402.300.7146.
Bonham Theatre Surveys
Distributed This Week
Large white envelopes will be showing up in the mailboxes of residents of Fairbury and Jefferson County, Nebraska and in Washington County, Kansas. Those envelopes - over 6,400 of them - contain an assessment survey sent out by the Bonham Theatre Project board of directors. The goal of the survey is to gather vital information and ideas to help to shape the future of the Bonham Theatre, located in historic downtown Fairbury.
According to Bonham Theatre Project board member Brooke Schwab, filling out and submitting the finished survey helps provide the necessary community input required to help produce a viable business plan for the Bonham Theatre. The creation of an extensive, all-encompassing business plan one of the key elements required to apply for grants from outside foundations and economic development agencies. "The short survey has a lot of power in a few words and can make a big difference in securing outside funding for the project. It also helps us map a direction to pursue in setting the framework for reopening/renovating the theater in terms of what our citizens want to see," Diane Schutt, president added.
The survey was produced in collaboration with UNK Center for Rural Research and Development, Shawn Kaskie, director. "Once all the surveys have been collected, UNK will tabulate the results and compile the findings for use in the production of a suitable business plan for the BTP," Treasurer Debby Ebke said. The costs to produce and mail the survey were paid for in part through a grant from the Sherwood Foundation.
Completed surveys can be turned in at several locations, including Ray's Apple Market, Starr-Buckow Insurance and all three branches of the First National Bank in Fairbury. In addition, junior and senior high school students will be asked to complete an on-line survey during their lunch periods to better assess what youth would like to see and use at the theaters, Schutt said.
Volunteers are needed to help with survey collection efforts. "Assistant Street Superintendant Laura Bedlan put together maps for our canvassing effort. If we can get 70-80 people to participate, collection of the surveys should be really fast on Sunday. We would like to work in pairs to cover routes in the city," Schwab said.
Volunteers will be going door-to-door in the city limits of Fairbury on Sunday, May 5, starting at 1 p.m., to pick up the finished surveys. Completed surveys can also be taped to doors on Sunday for people who wish to provide input, but will not be home for the pick-up.
Those wishing to help with survey collection are asked to meet at the Bonham Theatre this Sunday at 1 p.m. For more information call Brooke Schwab at 402-587-0683 or email email@example.com, or Diane Schutt at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Bonham Theatre Project log on to www.BonhamTheatreProject.org.
Bonham Theatre Project
Plans May 3rd Fundraiser
The Bonham Theatre Project is planning its next fundraiser entitled, "Memories of the Bonham." The event is planned for Friday, May 3rd from 7 – 10 p.m. at the Fairbury Elks Club at 525 G Street in downtown Fairbury. The event will feature the music of The Kramer Sisters, a musical variety group performing classic country, big band era and polka music, both for listening and dancing. According to BTP president, Diane Schutt, "there will be great entertainment, raffle prizes, door prizes and refreshments." Tickets for the event are $5 in advance or $6 at the door and can be reserved by calling 402.300.7146.
The concept for the "Memories of the Bonham" theme was inspired by the many stories told to Bonham Theatre Project board members, including a letter sent to BTP treasurer Debby Ebke by Fairbury native Jim Chatelain. In his letter, Chatelain recalled many fond memories of the Bonham Theatre, including working there as an usher in his late ‘teens in the 1940's under the management of Ira Crain. Chatelain donated $5,000 towards the restoration of the Bonham, to which he referred to it as "my old friend." The scanned copy of the letter in Chatelain's own handwriting is posted online and can be read in its entirety by clicking here to view PDF.
"Recognizing that the Bonham Theatre is not just a building but a special place where memories were made is a very important catalyst for wanting to restore, rehabilitate and reopen the movie theatre. Those stories and memories need to be collected and recorded for future generations – it's a very important thread in the fabric of our community's history and provides the basis for the mission of our entire project." according to board member, Julie Katz.
Anyone who has memories to share is invited to attend this event, which coincides also with the First Friday Artwalk in downtown Fairbury, which begins at 5 p.m. Friday the 3rd. Details can be found at www.FairburyFirstFriday.com.
Proceeds will benefit the Bonham Theatre Project, whose mission is to rehabilitate and reopen the historic Bonham Theatre as an arts and entertainment venue in downtown Fairbury.
For the latest information about the Bonham Theatre Project, find them on facebook – Bonham Theatre Project.
Work Begins on Bonham Theatre Marquee
Runza Restaurant Donates $1,148.75 to Bonham Theatre Project
Runza donated 25 percent of one day's sales in their Fairbury store to assist the fundraising efforts of the Bonham Theatre Project. Presenting the $1,148.75 raised that day to the members of the Bonham Theatre Project are Fairbury Runza Manager Tiah Berkness and Runza's corporate Director of Marketing Becky Perrett.
Photo by Jim Headley.
Runza Restaurant Plans Fundraiser
For Bonham Theatre Project
The Fairbury Runza Restaurant will be hosting a fundraising event to benefit the Bonham Theatre Project on Tuesday, March 12th. On that day, the Fairbury Runza Restaurant will donate 25% of sales to the Bonham Theatre Project's Capital Campaign to raise funds for the restoration of Fairbury's historic movie theatre.
The Fairbury Runza Restaurant opens at 10:30 am and 25% of all sales for the entire day (drive thru, dine in and carry out) will be donated.. "Runza is proud to be part of the Fairbury community and we look forward to supporting this historic restoration project. Movie fans of all ages will benefit from this effort for many years to come," stated Becky Perrett, Director of Marketing for Runza National.
Bonham Theatre Project board members and volunteers will be on hand that day during peak hours to visit with patrons and provide updates about the project. "We are still looking to recruit more members, collect information and photos of the Bonham Theatre and we invite everyone to eat at Runza that day and share your memories of the theatre with us," according to BTP board member, Gene Thomas. "We appreciate Runza's commitment to our community and gratefully accept this generous gift."
Runza Restaurants – famous for the Runza Sandwich with its delicious blend of ground beef, cabbage, onions and secret spices baked inside homemade bread, made-to-order hamburgers, and double dipped onion rings – operates and franchises 80 restaurants in Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa and Kansas.
Bonham Theatre Project Raises Over $3K At Bowls For Bonham Event
Bonham Theatre Project volunteer Susie Patton of Fairbury helped serve soup and sandwiches to over 150 attendees at the "Bowls For Bonham" soup and sandwich luncheon sponsored by Bonham Theatre Project. Supplemental funding was provided by Thrivent Financial. For more information log on to www.BonhamTheatreProject.org.
Bonham Theatre Project Draws Nationwide Support
Feb. 2013 - Efforts to save the historic Bonham Theatre in downtown Fairbury continue to draw the attention of movie-goers, historians and charity organizations across the nation. Bonham Theatre Project treasurer Debby Ebke reports that donations have come from as far away as Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Washington, Texas and Illinois. Men and women, young and old have sent donations for the revitalization of the Bonham Theatre," according to Ebke.
According to BTP records, several donations are from former employees of the Bonham. " Interestingly, some of their names are inscribed on the walls in the Bonham basement," according to Diane Schutt, BTP board president.
The following excerpts are from letters and messages received by the Bonham Theatre Project:
Dear Mrs. Ebke:
Enclosed is my donation toward the support of the Bonham Theatre Project.
I grew up in Fairbury, not without being an avid Bonham attendee, being "held" by dramas, melodramas, mysteries, westerns, comedies, musicals, horrors, swashbucklers, serials, newsreels, and previews of coming attractions! In addition, I recall with fondness my days as an usher at the Bonham during my late teens, the late 1940‘s, under Ira Crain, manager.
It is therefore with pleasure that I extend this donation to "my old friend," the Bonham Theatre, with every good wish for its successful restoration.
A more recent employee and donor sent this message:
"As a former Bonham employee, I just want to say thank you for all the work you, Schutt, and all the others have done."
Many donations have come with sentimental notes:
"During 1950 through 1952 my to-be husband and I had many dates at the Bonham Theatre. In memory of him and our good times together at the Theatre, I would like to donate to its restoration."
Other donations have come with no connection to Fairbury or the Bonham Theatre, specifically:
Dear Board and Members,
The enclosed donation comes from The Giving Group, a small group of women that meet once a month and contribute to a "pot", the person hosting for the month chooses where the donation will go. As a former small town girl from South Dakota, the Bonham Theatre Project written up in the Journal Star caught my interest. Brooke's comment, "…not let another building rot" sadly is so true of many once wonderful small towns. (Like mine.)
I've chosen your project to donate to because I admire the initiative you're taking.
To become a member of the Bonham Theatre Project or to donate towards the restoration of the theatre, log on to www.BonhamTheatreProject.org.
Thrivent Financial Pledges Funds To Bonham Theatre Project
Feb. 2013 - Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will provide supplemental funding to support the Bonham Theatre Project, according to BTP board member Jan Knobel. The Bonham Theatre Project is planning its next fundraiser entitled, "Bowls For Bonham," a soup and sandwich luncheon scheduled for Sunday, February 24th at the Burkley Family Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Bonham Theatre Project, whose mission is to rehabilitate and reopen the historic Bonham Theatre as an arts and entertainment venue in downtown Fairbury.
According to Knobel, "Several members of the board of directors for the Bonham Theatre Project are Thrivent members and projects like this help to build strong communities." Matching funds up to $500 have been pledged by the financial organization which according to their website, helped to raise more than $175 million in 2011 to support communities, congregations and individuals in need (www.Thrivent.com)
Soup bowls created specifically for the event by nationally-known artist Lucky Stradley are available for purchase in advance for $15 at Stagecoach Mall Antiques (open weekends) or by calling Julie Katz at 402.613.2063. Bowls will also be available for purchase on the day of the event.
A variety of soups and sandwiches will be available and the Brownie and Daisy Girl Scout Troops under the leadership of Lena Stewart, Hillary Christ and Karinda Lee will be on hand to help. The theatre building will also be open that day for tours.
Bonham Theatre Project Wins
"Jackpot" at Annual Chamber Banquet
Feb. 2013 - The Bonham Theatre Project came away a winner at the Fairbury Chamber of Commerce annual banquet held on February 1st. During the live charity auction, a "money globe" donated by First National Bank was purchased by Riverside Chevrolet. The globe contained $248 to which another $200 was added as a "bonus spin" courtesy of Tiffany Pfaff. In all, $448 was presented to the Bonham Theatre Project. Pictured are Brooke Schwab and Deborah Ebke, BTP board members along with Alan Stall and Dick Newton, owners of Riverside Chevrolet of Fairbury. Photo courtesy of Holly Troxel Photography.
Bonham Theatre Project
Announces Capital Campaign
Jan. 2013 - The Bonham Theatre Project board members announced this week that the project is now entering "Phase II" which will focus on the renovation of the historic Bonham Theatre Building (c. 1926) located in downtown Fairbury.
The Bonham Theatre Project has now completed two major objectives since forming a non-profit group in October of 2012 to save the historic theatre, once referred to as "the showplace of southeast Nebraska." In January, BTP board members submitted the winning bid securing the building and contents at a foreclosure auction. Just last week it was revealed that the Bonham Theatre Project would be receiving $150K worth of . . . Read Full Story Here
Bonham Theatre Project
Receives Pledge Valued at $150K
Jan. 2013 - The Bonham Theatre Project has received a pledge from Save America's Cinemas for digital equipment, valued at approximately $150,000. Save America's Cinemas (SAC) is a non-profit organization founded by a collection of actors, movie directors, producers and screenwriters whose mission is to save the 3,000+ small market movie houses forced to close because of the expenditures entailed in converting to a digital format. Read Full Story Here
Local Group Buys Bonham Theater
Jan. 2013 - Now, the dream can begin.
Friday morning Deb Ebke entered the one and only bid to purchase the Bonham Theater at public auction as she represented the Bonham Theater Project.
No one but Ebke, the Project's treasurer, even registered to bid at the foreclosure auction to purchase the Bonham, so it sold to the community revitalization group for the minimum amount of $24,550.
Read Full Story Here
Bonham Theatre Project Seeks Gifts of Grain
Farmers and livestock producers can save significant taxes by donating commodities such as grain and livestock to the Bonham Theatre Project. The Bonham Theatre Project is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organized with the intent of acquiring, rehabilitating and reopening the historic Bonham Theatre in downtown Fairbury. The movie theatre, built in 1926, closed in the summer of 2012. The Bonham Theatre Project board of directors has begun a capital campaign and has purchased the Bonham. Additional funds are needed to acquire remodel and reopen the theatre.
Now is a great time to think about a charitable gift of commodities, whether its cattle, corn or other grain. "It provides another option and some tax incentives that are not available by simply giving cash," according to Debby Ebke, Treasurer of the Bonham Theatre Project.
Producers who wish to donate portions of their crops or livestock directly to the Bonham Theatre Project not only benefit their community, but are able to benefit from tax savings that may be greater than if they had sold the commodity and then donated a portion of the proceeds.
When an agricultural producer transfers legal ownership of the commodity to a charity before it is sold, the producer will not have taxable income from a sale, thus minimizing taxes. Tax savings may be realized on federal income tax, state income tax and self-employment tax, depending on the producer's specific circumstances.
Farmers or ranchers wanting their gift to benefit their community should consider giving to The Bonham Theatre Project. According to foundation member Julie Katz, "Gifts of commodities will put this project on the fast track to restoring a very important cultural and entertainment venue for generations to come."
Producers should check with their accountants to determine whether a contribution of commodities is appropriate to their tax situation. They should notify The Bonham Theatre Project in advance of making a gift of commodities, as there are specific procedures that need to be followed to obtain the desired tax treatment of a gift of livestock or grain to a charitable fund.
For more information about saving taxes by donating commodities, contact Debby Ebke at 402.300.7146 or by email at DebbyEbke@gmail.com.
Farmers Can Receive Tax Benefits From Charitable
Contributions of Commodities
Cash basis farmers can take the standard deduction and still receive a tax benefit from charitable contributions. To get these benefits, farmers must make charitable contributions in unsold commodities rather than cash. This technique might also cut social security taxes if the contribution in commodities reduces income below the social security earnings base.
To make this strategy work, the taxpayer must:
- Be a cash-basis taxpayer. The accrual-basis taxpayer has a tax cost in the commodities that negates much of the advantage.
- Contribute the commodity, not the sales proceeds.
Contribute the unsold commodity to the charity. Deliver the grain or livestock to the elevator, and have the title or warehouse receipt made out in the name of the charity. The receipt or commodity title is given to the charity, with a letter stating the commodity is the charity's to handle as they wish. Taxpayer contributing on-farm stored commodities should send the charity a notarized letter citing the number of bushels and the location of the donated grain. Of course, the taxpayer should retain copies of the letters and receipts to document the contribution.
The taxpayer should not haul grain to the local elevator and have the buyer issue a check to the charity. Even though the check is not issued to the taxpayer, the IRS will treat this as though the taxpayer had sold the grain and contributed cash.
- Be an active farmer. This technique works for active producers who have raised the commodity as inventory. It does not apply to retired farmers who may have received grain on a crop-share lease. That grain has a rental status which is distinguished from business income and prevents transfer under the charitable rules.
- The taxpayer should review the transaction with his or her CPA or tax advisor in advance.
Steps to Make a Charitable Gift of Commodities
- Contact The Bonham Theatre Project to advise us that the gift is about to be made.
- Complete the Letter from the Producer form notifying us that you are making a gift of commodities. Indicate quantity and type of commodity being contributed and the fund (and related pupose) to which your contribution is directed.
- When you deliver the commodity to the local elevator, feedlot or other facility please inform them to issue a receipt in the name of The Bonham Theatre Project. The receipt is evidence that ownership of the commodity was transferred from the producer to The Bonham Theatre Project. Then send the receipt to The Bonham Theatre Project at the address below.
- Instruct the facility that it must send the contract to sell the commodity to The Bonham Theatre Project for signature. The contract can be mailed to The Bonham Theatre Project at P.O. Box 22, Daykin, NE 68338.
If the facility does not use written contracts for commodity sales, ask The Bonham Theatre Project to provide you with a complete
Instruction Form. Since The Bonham
Theatre Project now owns the commodity following your gift, you may not instruct the facility to sell it.