What kind of organization is the Lorenzo Theater Foundation?
Lorenzo Theater Foundation is a nonprofit public benefit corporation recognized by the State of California. It is governed by a board of directors, who serve for three-year terms. A majority of the board of directors cannot be paid, or related to persons who are paid, by the Foundation. Because the Foundation does not have individual members, the board appoints new directors when necessary. See our Articles of Incorporation.
In what sense is the Foundation nonprofit?
The Foundation was organized and is operated according to the California and federal laws regulating nonprofit corporations (California Revenue and Taxation Code section 23701(d) and Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3)). The Foundation does not, and cannot, benefit a particular person or group of persons. If the Foundation is dissolved in the future, its remaining assets must be distributed to a similar tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Being a legally recognized nonprofit corporation does not mean that the Foundation cannot earn profits, or even operate unrelated for-profit activities.
What are the goals of the Foundation?
The Foundation was organized originally to acquire the Lorenzo Theater and restore it to public use as a center for the visual and performing arts. To make this work, the audience for performances and exhibitions in the theater will have to come from a large region. We do not know at this point whether the Foundation's role will be limited to owning and leasing the premises or if the Foundation will take on the role of producer as well.
This looks expensive -- who's paying?
The Foundation has been remarkably successful in attracting donations from the local community, primarily San Lorenzo, in its first year. These donations have been earmarked for development of the Foundation and operating expenses.
The Foundation has developed a plan to solicit donations to a capital fund, which will be used to buy the theater, restore it, and furnish it with necessary equipment. In order to build up the amount of capital we will need, and do it within a reasonable period, we will depend on large donations from individuals and grants from other organizations.
Once the theater is ready to use again, the money necessary to maintain and operate the theater will come primarily from renting the theater. However, additional funds will be needed, so that we will continue to solicit donations, bequests, and grants to enable us to maintain a regional arts center.
Is restoration of the theater compatible with the surrounding area?
The commercial area surrounding the theater has changed considerably since the theater was built in 1947. San Lorenzo Village was originally one of the first "planned communities". Built in a semi-rural area, the village homes and businesses were all developed at once by a single developer. Fifty years San Lorenzo is part of a densely populated East Bay region, in which residents typically shop and work far from home. In addition, retail business has changed radically since the 1940s -- small local shops have been replaced by huge discount stores that serve regional markets. The once-thriving Village Square, dominated by the original Mervyn's store, is now a ghost town. Two years ago the San Lorenzo community began serious and sustained efforts to promote redevelopment of the Village Square and nearby commercial properties along Hesperian Boulevard. A community task force has prepared a San Lorenzo Specific Plan. The Lorenzo Theater Foundation board believes the restored theater should be the centerpiece of this renewed development, and will work to ensure that commercial development around the theater is consistent with an arts center visited by people from throughout the region.
What's the condition of the theater now?
Surprisingly, the murals on the interior walls are in very good condition, showing water damage in a few spots. Also, the roof is in reasonably good condition. Before we even acquire the theater, the Foundation board will conduct an expert appraisal of the structural work that must be done to bring the theater into compliance with building codes.
How can I help?
First, sign up for our supporters' mailing list (see How to Contact Us). That way you'll get our quarterly newsletter, which includes announcements of particular tasks that need to be done. We are gradually developing permanent committees to address on-going needs. Our communications committee is responsible for our newsletter, this website, and any other means of communicating with our supporters and the public. Our fundraising committee puts on several events each year to raise the thousands of dollars we need for operating expenses.