Donor incentives boosted for Ebert sculpture

Donor incentives boosted for Ebert sculpture

Drive is already 20 percent along toward $122,500 goal

CHAMPAIGN — People who give more toward the creation and installation of a lifesize bronze sculpture of Roger Ebert in downtown Champaign will get a little more in return.

The organizers of the fundraising campaign have increased the incentives for donations of $1,000 or more:

Originally, donors who gave $1,000 to $4,999 would have received a certificate of appreciation. Now they will receive a laser-inscribed plaque with a depiction of the installed sculpture.

Donors who give $5,000 to $9,999 will receive a cold-cast bronze maquette, or model, of the Ebert sculpture. That is essentially a small replica of the sculpture made of resin, impregnated with powdered bronze. Previously, a gift in that amount would have resulted in recognition at the installation ceremony.

People who give more than $10,000 will receive a lost-wax bronze maquette-sized casting of the Ebert sculpture, depicting him sitting on the middle of three theater seats, with his signature thumbs-up gesture.

Champaign lawyer Scott Anderson Jr., who is heading the fund-raising campaign, said organizers wanted to give greater incentives for lesser amounts, in part to encourage giving during the month of December.

The Ebert Foundation, headed by Chaz Ebert, has pledged to match up to $25,000 in donations made in December. Since that was announced last week, the campaign has received $3,000.

"The $3,000 came in the first few days, so that's encouraging," Anderson said. "We're trying to get the full $25,000 so we get the full match."

So far, the campaign, which kicked off in September, has raised a little more than 20 percent toward its $122,500 goal, which will cover the cost of the sculpture and related expenses, including the campaign, donor recognitions, maintenance, insurance and lighting.

Anderson said the Ebert Sculpture Project committee would love to see the sculpture, to be built by Rich Harney of Normal, installed before the 2014 Roger Ebert's Film Festival in late April.

"It would take a tremendous response at this point," Anderson said on Friday. "We'd love it, if we could have $50,000 this month. It would be a little tight."

If the campaign is successful, the Ebert sculpture would be installed outside the Virginia Theatre, home of Ebertfest, just east of the marquee so photographs of the sculpture would include the marquee.

Here's a rundown of the revised incentive package:

— Studio Head donors ($25,000 and up). Their names will be on the dedication plaque attached to the sculpture, and they will receive a lost-wax bronze maquette of the sculpture. Their names will be included in all future promotional materials.

— Producer donors ($10,000 to $24,999) — a lost-wax bronze maquette-sized casting of the sculpture and recognition at the dedication.

— Director donors ($5,000 to $9,999) — a cold-cast resin-and-bronze maquette and recognition at the dedication.

— Leading Actor ($2,500 to $4,999) and Supporting Actor donors ($1,000 to $2,499) — a laser-inscribed plaque and a certificate of appreciation.

Donations, which are tax-deductible, may be made directly to the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, 307 W. University Ave., Champaign, IL 61820, or through the campaign website at

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