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TBPAC exceeds money goal for arts school, endowment

The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center has surpassed its $30-million fundraising goal for a new performing arts school and institutional endowment.

Helen Kerr, the capital campaign chairwoman, announced Monday that the total raised was $31,722,654. The center had to raise $30-million by Sept. 1 to qualify for an $800,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation.

TBPAC president Judith Lisi said money contributed during the four-year campaign will cover the $7.8-million construction of the Dr. Pallavi Patel Performing Arts Conservatory plus build up the center's endowment to $30-million.

Lisi said it was the most money raised for a local cultural organization since TBPAC's original campaign, which amounted to $58-million in 1987.

Lisi stressed the importance of the endowment, which provides investment income. "Having this endowment . . . gives us the financial base that we need to protect us against economic challenges, whether industry or weather related," she said in a statement.

Kerr cited several gifts that put the campaign over its goal, including $500,000 from Ray and Nancy Murray of Clearwater; a challenge grant of $350,000 from the Saunders Foundation; and $100,000 gifts from Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel and McKibbon Hotel Management.

The Patels donated $5-million to the center in October 2002, with the conservatory being named for Mrs. Patel. Housed in a 45,000-square-foot building connected to the center, the conservatory has classes starting Oct. 11. The official opening is Nov. 20.