Birthday celebration event for Opera House advocate raises $48,000 for renovation work

Fund drive just shy of $50,000 goal; event raises record amount from current and former residents of community

Long-time Ellendale Opera House leader and advocate Jeanette Robb-Ruenz had much more to celebrate than her 80th birthday at the Opera House Lobby & Gallery Saturday, July 20.

That’s because her birthday event generated $48,000 in donations for renovation of the historic landmark on Main Street.

A total of $24,000 in contributions was made to the“Building Our Future and Preserving Our Past” campaign from more than 70 individuals, businesses and organizations.That amount will be matched dollar-for-dollar by anonymous supporters.

The resulting $48,000 was just shy of the $50,000 campaign event goal, but was a major advance for the capital campaign to raise $560,000 for the Phase I renovations of the 110-year-old building.

“I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to my birthday fund-raiser,” Robb-Ruenz, said. “Your support for the Opera house renovation means a great deal not only to me, but generations of Ellendale area residents who want to see the building once again serve as an economic and cultural engine for the community.”

“We still have a long way to go to reach our Phase I goal, but the wonderful response from new and old Opera House supporters is a real shot in the arm for our fund-raising efforts.”

O.P.E.R.A., Inc. (Organization of People in Ellendale for Restoration of the Arts) kicked off the Phase I capital campaign last September.The funds will be used to renovate the street- level storefront spaces, replace all windows and landscape around the building.

The planned work also will include installation of utilities needed to attract tenants to the storefronts. Rental income from the storefronts would then help fund future renovations to the building and provide an economic boost for the community.

During the year-end matching campaign last December,O.P.E.R.A.received a total of $10,000 in donations. Matching contributions from anonymous donors resulted in a total of $20,000 for the Opera House renovations.

To donate to the opera house:

• Go online and click on the “DONATE” menu button.

• Go online to either of the Opera House Facebook pages – “OPERA, Inc - Owner of the Ellendale Historic Opera House,”or“Ellendale Opera House Renovation”– and click on the “DONATE” button link.

•Or, simply mail your check to: O.P.E.R.A., Inc.,P.O.Box 334, Ellendale, ND 58436.

Because O.P.E.R.A. is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization, all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

All donors will have their names listed on permanent plaques that will be displayed in the Opera House lobby.

Donors also can contribute funds in memory of, or in honor of, another individual or family member.

The organization also can accept donations of stock. Contact O.P.E.R.A. Executive Director Justin Meidinger for details on how to make a stock transfer to the organization.

For more information, contact: Executive Director Justin Meidinger Phone: 701.535.0347 / Email: