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Collier Challenge Testimonial: Gene Witmer

Gene Witmer generously joined the Collier Challenge in order to assist in ensuring the future of the Hippodrome Theatre. Read what Mr. Witmer had to say about the Collier Challenge and his decision to contribute.

If everyone who cares about the future of the Hipp were to step up in this way, even with relatively small amounts, the result can be a profound investment in the long term sustainability of this institution.

Funding for the arts is always unpredictable, and in the current climate it is especially hard to be confident about the future of the Hippodrome. But this community—my home for the last two decades—is obviously greatly enriched by the Hipp: its theatrical productions, independent cinema, educational outreach programs, and more—all right in the center of downtown Gainesville. Joining the Collier Campaign is a simple way to send a signal that this kind of contribution matters. We owe it to this community—to each other—to do what we can to keep these valuable programs alive over the long run.

I think of my own pledge as a kind of baseline. I will surely make additional one-time gifts in the future as well, the amount depending on circumstances and needs at the time. But the Collier Campaign is about providing a steady source of funds that will enable stability and a concerted strategy for the future of the Hippodrome.

Kudos and thanks to Mr. Collier for seeing the need for this—and to anyone else who has joined or will join this effort to keep Gainesville Hipp!


Nathan S. Collier, of the Collier Companies, has generously offered a 10-year dollar-for-dollar challenge grant to help secure the Hippodrome’s future. This unprecedented gift will allow the Hippodrome to build up an unrestricted fund to help smooth out the cash flow challenges inherent to the seasonal nature of theatre. The theatre’s staff and board of trustees expect it to lay the foundation for growth and an even higher caliber of artistic product in the coming years.

To learn more about the Collier Challenge and see how you can get involved, visit thehipp.org/collierchallenge

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