The RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum announced today (July 26) that it had reached its fundraising goal to match the Ingram Family’s $100,000 challenge grant — a full month prior to the Aug. 31 deadline.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of all those individuals and companies who contributed and helped us achieve this success. Contributions snowballed over the last month, putting us over the top,” stated Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s RV/MH Hall of Fame, in a press release.
Two weeks ago, the Hall announced that it was still nearly $10,000 shy of reaching the $100,000 goal. That’s when Jim Hammill, president of Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., a Kitchener, Ontario-based Class B motorhome manufacturer, called the RV/MH Hall of Fame and said he believed it was time the Canadian RV industry “stepped up and showed its support for the Hall of Fame.” Roadtrek contributed $10,000 to make up the shortfall.
In the meantime long-time Hall of Fame supporters Derald Bontrager and Wilber Bontrager, president and CEO, respectively, of Middlebury, Ind.-based Jayco Inc., each personally donated $5,000, bringing the total to 110% of the goal.
This week, Thor President and COO Bob Martin visited the Hall bringing two $25,000 checks. Martin emphasized that both the Thompson Family Foundation donation and the matching Thor contribution are in memory of Wade F.B. Thompson, co-founder and former chairman, president and CEO of the Jackson Center, Ohio, RV manufacturer. Thompson passed away in November of 2009.
“Thor definitely sees the importance of the Hall of Fame,” says Martin, “and Thor was one of the large initial donors to the Hall of Fame. And for our industry – and for our community – we want to see the Hall of Fame survive and thrive. And after meeting with Darryl Searer, the new president of the Hall, (current Thor Chairman and CEO) Peter Orthwein and I contacted the foundation and talked with them and decided to make this gift as a match in memory of Wade Thompson, the founder of Thor Industries.”
The timing of this donation comes at a time when the Hall’s prospects seem to be improving, agrees Martin. “Yes, it does. The Hall of Fame seems to be gaining their financial stability, and there are many in the community who are stepping up and helping the Hall of Fame. And it definitely sounds like they have a very good plan in place that many people are willing to buy in to.”
In May, Tony Ingram, representing the Boots and Betty Ingram family, offered $100,000 in the form of a challenge grant for the purpose of lowering the Hall’s bank loan at 1st Source Bank if the Hall could match the grant through contributions from friends of the Hall prior to Sept. 1.
Searer pointed out that he expects the total to rise even higher once the results of the NTP Brick Program promotion is complete. Wilsonville, Ore.-based NTP Distribution Corp. has offered to buy a brick in the RV/MH Walk of Fame honoring all customers who meet a minimum purchase level. The Ingram family had previously agreed to count contributions to the Brick Program as part of the matching donations.
“The success of this fundraiser is a bold statement that people and companies in the RV/MH industries want the hall to succeed and prosper. I cannot thank all of those who contributed enough for their generosity,” Searer said. “It is truly a time for celebration and our celebration continues through the 2012 RV/MH Hall of Fame induction dinner and golf tournament on Aug. 6.”
For those who would like to make reservations for the induction dinner and/or the golf classic visit www.rvmhhalloffame.org. Reservations can also be made by mail, phone or fax.
RV/MH Hall President Daryll Searer (L) accepts a check from Thor President and COO Bob Martin