History of the SCC Foundation
by Paula Fitch, Trustee
Winfrey Houston led some interested and dedicated residents to form the Citizen's Initiative Group. They were determined to demonstrate to the City Commission the level of support for this type of facility and identify types of use and potential uses. This was to help the City Commission with their struggle on whether to support a Community Center. By February of 2002, the Citizen's Initiative Group accomplished four important goals.
But, really we had already gotten started. By April of 2001 we had setup a bank account and had received our Federal Tax ID number. The group, still identified as the Citizen's Initiative Group, had initiated the Show you Care…Buy a Chair campaign and had raised $14,700 for the purchase of new seats for the auditorium. Yet because we were not yet a 501(c)(3) at the time, those donations went into the City's coffers. When our 501(c)(3) status was confirmed in October those donations had increased to $16,000. In an August 2004 press release, Ann Houston reported that
More citizens who helped in the years
Theater seating is now fully funded, thanks to generous donors who funded more than $50,000 of
the $108,633 project through the three-year Stillwater Community Center Foundation’s “Show
You Care, Buy A Chair” campaign,” said George McElhoe chair, Stillwater Community Center
Foundation. “The City of Stillwater picked up the tab for the balance so patrons can expect to have
comfortable theater seating in the near future.”
But whatever happened to that $500,000 anonymous donation the City declined? Ann Houston's press release answers that question.
The secret $500,000 donor was revealed as the late Robert Lowry and his wife Marion. Through the
Lowry’s generous donation, a school gymnasium was transformed into the fully functional Lowry
Activity Center including facilities for catering services. It is now open for public use.
The Lowry Activity Center dedication was held on May 20, 2004. The program listed the members of the Stillwater City Commission. Larry Brown was not on that list but Mayor Bud Lacy was listed and would prove to be a supporter of the Stillwater Community Center.
The future of the SCC seemed to be looking bright. But the Stillwater Community Center Foundation would go through years without purpose or funds. At times it almost folded and even considered transferring the few dollars they had to other non-profits.