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Theatre company hits fundraising milestone: $73,000

B&B surpasses financial goals for student program, building renovation

COURTESY PHOTO: ARIANNE JACQUES - Gary Strong pours champagne during the June 18 Bag&Baggage gala, Works in Progress. June 18 was a banner day for Washington County’s Bag&Baggage Productions. That Saturday evening marked the Hillsboro-based professional theatre company’s eighth annual Gala Dinner and Auction, and the success of the event helped the organization to break important fundraising records.

Bag&Baggage’s “Works in Progress” Gala took place in its recently purchased building in downtown Hillsboro at 350 East Main St. — a space formerly occupied by Wells Fargo Bank. The company has plans to refurbish the spot into a 160-seat studio theatre that will act as its permanent artistic and administrative home.

“The place was packed,” said Bag&Baggage Founding Artistic Director Scott Palmer. “Our guests were incredibly generous, both in their donations to our Passport free ticket program and to our Evolution capital campaign.”

The company raised its largest amount ever, totaling more than $73,000 from the evening. Last year’s event raised a little more than $60,000 to support the provision of free, on-demand tickets to the company’s shows for high school students from Washington, Columbia, Tillamook and Yamhill counties.

The Evolution Campaign, which seeks to raise a total of $1.4 million for the refurbishment of the building, started about a year ago. Contributions made at the gala helped Bag&Baggage meet a $60,000 challenge matching grant from The Collins Foundation six months before the challenge deadline, putting the company at 55 percent of its final campaign goal.

Palmer, who emceed the event, was happily bewildered. “I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. COURTESY PHOTO: ARIANNE JACQUES - Founding Artistic Director Scott Palmer introduces Hanna Brumley to discuss Bag&Baggages PASSPORT program.

The Collins Foundation award matched any donation from individuals or businesses dollar for dollar, with no limitations on the amount as long as the money is used for capital campaign costs, according to Palmer.

“The great thing about the Collins Foundation grant is that it allowed our supporters to give at any level and have the impact of that gift doubled,” said Palmer. “Hundreds of people took advantage of the match, including concerted efforts by groups like the Hillsboro Rotary, which raised

more than $15,000 toward the match in just a few short months.”

The gala featured more than $50,000 worth of live and silent auction packages, local musicians Gayle Ritt and Mike Soto playing an eclectic mix of bluegrass, rock, and country and catering and bar service from Reedville Cafe and McNally’s Taproom. The fundraising event also gave supporters a glimpse into the potential of what the troupe’s future space can do for the Hillsboro community.