denis receives $100,000 gift, challenge grant

The Denis Theatre Foundation, which is working to renovate and reopen the 74-year old theater  on Washington Road,  has received a gift in the amount of $100,000 from an anonymous donor. The same donor will contribute an additional $100,000 as a challenge grant; to receive the additional $100,000, the Denis will need to raise  a $100,000 match by February 28, 2013.  This is the second time the Denis Theatre has been awarded a challenge grant: the first was in 2010 and came when the Denis Theatre Foundation was seeking funds to purchase the theater building. The Foundation successfully met that challenge. If the challenge is met, it would bring the foundation $300,000 closer to the Phase I goal of $2.5 million.

“We are delighted with the contribution of $100,000, and are prepared to pull out all of the stops to ensure that we raise the funds necessary to receive the challenge monies, too” said Executive Director Valerie Golik.  “We will be counting on our supporters – old and new – to help meet the challenge.”

 Phase I construction and renovation, which will take about one year, will open the first of three planned movie screens and complete necessary infrastructure, including an elevator, new electrical and mechanical systems throughout the 17,000 square foot building.  Phase II plans for the theater, which the foundation envisions as an independent cinema and community center for the South Hills and beyond, would require a total of  $4.5 million in funds.

“This challenge represents a terrific opportunity for people to step up and get involved in the project,” added Jennifer Smokelin, president of the board of directors. “We have received many generous contributions from individuals, businesses and charitable foundations, and we hope that those who haven’t yet made a gift or a pledge will consider doing so now to help us meet the challenge.

The Denis Theatre Foundation is among several local 501C3 organizations that is eligible to benefit from the Pittsburgh Foundation’s  October 3 Day of Giving program,” said Golik. Support for the Denis will be matched by several Pittsburgh-area foundations, and will count toward the anonymous challenge grant.”

For more information, go to