ROSENDALE – The Pepsi Refresh Challenge website has posted that the Rosendale Theatre Collective as "Ranked First in the $50,000 challenge" for their "Refreshing Idea for Arts and Culture." The Collective's presence on the Pepsi site, formerly a place to vote, now states that "the Collective is a finalist for the grant" along with posting that "Voting ended on April 30th."
This $50,000 grant award is projected to make the Collective's vision of purchasing the Rosendale Theatre a reality.
The Pepsi Fresh Challenge project started when the company decided to abandon its $33-million advertising plan for the 2010 Superbowl. Instead of paying for expensive commercial time during the Superbowl's airing, Pepsi decided to put its money towards a more magnanimous purpose — to help small, community-minded businesses.
In January, Pepsi started accepting grant applications from individuals, non-profits and pro-social businesses deciding to accept only 1,000 ideas on a monthly basis. Grants are being awarded to the top vote-getters at each month's end. Then the process starts "fresh" again with the beginning of the next month.
With their "community cause" affirmed as "I want to Preserve a local movie theater and revitalize our main street," the Rosendale Theatre Collective entered the contest and was chosen as a competitor in the April Challenge.
The need for daily voters spread like wild fire. Emails were sent out and forwarded as well as many Facebook announcements. The Collective's own website posted the quest complete with a YouTube video featuring activities they wished to keep going in the beloved theatre. The pursuit for voters mushroomed throughout the community — the country — and the worldwide web.
When the Collective first vied to purchase the theatre in the fall of 2008, they vowed to preserve what the theater had provided the community, keeping with the Cacchio family's history of supporting independent filmmakers, artists and civil and human rights organizations. The family had provided high-quality art films, and provided a community venue for local organizations to hold fundraising events, with the Cacchios, most of the time, offering the venue at no cost.
The Collective's top finalist ranking in the Pepsi Fresh Challenge is not the only reason that it will soon meet its goal for a down payment on the theatre purchase — it's also due to many months of fundraising efforts, private donations and selfless volunteerism to preserve the theatre's status as a cultural center and heart of the town's businesses.
For more information, volunteer or make a donation — go online to www.rosendaletheatre.org.