Aurora's Paramount Theatre Awarded its Highest Grant at $2.5M in Support of Act 2 Capital Campaign


Rendering of renovated Paramount Theatre in Aurora, which has been awarded its highest grant award yet (image courtesy of Aurora Paramount Theatre).

Aurora’s Paramount Theatre recently announced it has been awarded its largest grant ever, a $2.5 million donation from the Dunham Fund.

The Dunham Fund’s lead grant toward the $4.5 million goal of the Act 2 Capital Campaign will support three major areas of expansion and improvement: 1)    Creation of the new Paramount School of Performing Arts in downtown Aurora in the new John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center; 2)    The replacement of every Paramount Theatre seat through a dollar-for-dollar matching grant; and 3)    Modernization of the Paramount’s 173-seat sister stage, the Copley Theatre, located in North Island Center directly across the street from the Paramount.

Civic leaders, Paramount supporters and members of the press gathered inside Aurora’s North Island Center at a press conference last week for the official kick-off of the Act 2 capital fundraising campaign and the announcement of the Dunham Fund’s unprecedented lead grant. 

Former Aurora Mayor Thomas J. Weisner, an original advocate of the Paramount’s bold move in 2010 to transform itself from a touring house to a producer of its own award-winning Broadway musical series, is Chair of the Paramount’s Act 2 Capital Campaign.

Weisner began by announcing that Bruce Goldsmith and Ed Schmitt, Jr. will serve as honorary co-chairs for the Act 2 Capital Campaign. “In appointing Bruce and Ed as honorary co-chairs – each of them deserving in his own right – we wish to honor the memory of their respective parents, Anne Goldsmith and Ed Schmitt, Sr., both of whom were unmatched in their love and support of the Paramount,” said Weisner.

Weisner also recognized other Act 2 committee members including Christina DeGustino, Bruce Grider, Hon. R. Peter Grometer, Jonathan Hylton, Brian Konen, Terence Kothe, Gary McMann, Matt Miller, Donald Pilmer, Esther Saltijeral, John Savage, William Small, Jr. and Scott Voris. 

“We are also here to celebrate the Dunham Fund’s magnificent boost to our capital campaign’s launch with its generous $2.5 million donation,” said Weisner. “Dunham’s incredible support has been a key to the revitalization of the Paramount Theatre, helping spur its growth in just six years to capture the third largest subscriber base in the entire nation.” 

Weisner stated his belief that this new support from the Dunham Fund will take both the Paramount and Aurora’s downtown to the next level. 

The Dunham Fund’s $2.5 million contribution toward the Act 2 Capital Campaign’s $4.5 million fundraising goal is certainly a momentous kickoff to the important endeavor. For information on how to contribute, contact Kathleen M. Arko, Vice President of Development, Paramount Theatre, or (630) 723-2484.