The Meadows Foundation in Dallas, voted to give a $50,000 matching grant to the Friends of the Orange Depot to further their efforts to finish the renovation of the historic Southern Pacific Depot which will be transformed into a museum and multi-use building for the city.

As of May 18, all donations toward the project for the next year will be counted toward the match.  Carrie Woliver, president and founder of F.O.O.D, encourages all area residents who have been waiting to donate to the cause to do so now, so that their contribution, which is tax deductible, will help the organization match the $50,000 grant.  “Even the purchase of an engraved brick at $50 or $100 for the pathways around the building will be applied,” Woliver said.

Not only does financial support from the community count, but grants from other foundations apply to the matching figure.  “Those in the foundation community know the reputation of the Meadows Foundation and realize that if they are behind us that it should be a green light for other foundations to jump on board and support us,” Woliver said.

With the leadership and skills of the general contractor, Jack Elliott of Jackbuilt in Orange, the renovation of the depot has begun and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.  Elliott is encouraging building industry businesses to consider making an in-kind donation toward the construction.  Interested individuals should contact him at 651-2486.

The F.O.O.D. museum committee, headed by George Bohn and Drew Whatley, has already begun planning for the contents of the museum, which will feature railroad memorabilia and educational displays about the history of those industries that propelled Orange in the last century: timber, shipbuilding and petrochemicals.  The museum will also have spaces for special events and meetings.  Volunteers will operate the museum, serve as docents and sales persons in the gift shop. 

The board of directors will be calling on local businesses this summer to seek underwriting for the special sections of the museum, especially the petrochemical and shipbuilding exhibits.  Companies will receive excellent recognition and other benefits for naming the exhibits.  Any company that would like to learn more, please contact Brown Claybar at brownc@claybardifference.com.  Later this summer, the group will be holding hard hat tours for potential donors so that they may visualize first hand exactly where the exhibits and gift shop will be.

The organization still encourages individuals who would like to become involved in the project to jump on board.  The next board meeting will be held on Thursday, June 16, 5:00PM at the Grace Lutheran Church on Eddleman Road.

For questions, please email info@orangetxdepot.org. Website is www.orangetxdepot.org, where donations can be made online.

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