The impact of the Dunham Fund’s investment in the Paramount Theatre is evident not only in soaring ticket sales, happy public praise, but also in critical acclaim. Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun Times declared the Paramount Theatre’s Broadway Series has “…not only exceeded expectations, but far out-distanced much of what you will see on Broadway.”
The Dunham Fund provided a $350,000 interest-free program related investment to the Paramount Theatre in 2011. These funds were used for the purchase of sound and lighting equipment necessary to upgrade the theatre in order to produce its own four-show, in-house Broadway Series.
In 2014, the Dunham Fund issued a challenge grant to support the Broadway series at the Paramount. Tim Rater, President and CEO, said “the staff and board of directors are on a mission to continue to be the catalyst for revitalization of Aurora’s downtown. The matching grant from the Dunham Fund was a huge boost… to support what we’re doing.”
The Paramount’s general attendance has increased more than 400 percent in just four short years. Mary Poppins closed with record-breaking numbers: more than 62,000 people saw the show. In comparison, the entire 2010-2011 season had a total attendance of 54,000 people.
The Dunham Fund’s willingness to be a leader in support of these programs, and to challenge others to do the same, has truly inspired dramatic change. Philanthropy, partnership, hands-on assistance, and a will to succeed have allowed hundreds of thousands of people to be exposed to an Aurora they didn’t know. And, they’ll keep coming back for more!
Photo courtesy of Paramount Theatre/Charles Osgood.