Rendering of proposed Mexican American Cultural Center of El Paso, formerly known as the Hispanic cultural center.
A fundraising strategy study commissioned by the City of El Paso to support the success of the fundraising effort for the proposed Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) and to create benchmarks for the project is complete.
The MACC is a one of three signature bond projects overwhelming approved by voters in 2012. The site for the center, the Abraham Chavez Theater, was approved by City Council in January 2016, at the recommendation of a subcommittee of the City’s Bond Oversight Advisory Committee (BOAC).
The original voter-approved budget for the project was $5.75 million. The estimated cost, as of two years ago, to establish the MACC at the Abraham Chavez site was $34.6 million.
Council then accepted the site recommendation, contingent on the successful raise of pledged support in the amount of $20 million, made by the private sector group, Mexican-American Cultural Institute (MACI), which is comprised of some members of the Council-approved bond subcommittee for the project.
The fundraising strategy study findings were shared with City Council in executive session on September 19, 2017. The MACI leadership was provided with the study findings, two days later.
City staff and the study consultants, Lee + Associates, will meet MACI in October to review the findings.
BOND PROJECT BACKGROUND
In March 2015, at the direction of City Council a subcommittee of the Bond Oversight Committee (BOAC) was formed. The subcommittee was originally known as the Hispanic Cultural Center Subcommittee (HCC) and was later renamed the Mexican American Cultural Center Subcommittee (MACC).
The subcommittee was composed of 18 members (two appointees by Mayor and two appointees by each member of Council). The subcommittee received administrative support from City Staff and met regularly in order to provide to Council recommendations on the following:
- Size of the Hispanic Cultural Center
- Appropriate budget for the construction of the Hispanic Cultural Center
- Resources for enhancing existing budget
- Facility program and amenities
- Types of services to be offered within the Hispanic Cultural Center
- Recommendations regarding funding opportunities
- Recommendations regarding public/private partnerships
- Means for fundraising
- Recommendation regarding the name of the Hispanic Cultural Center
- Recommendation regarding the general location of the Center
In October 2015, the subcommittee reported to Council on its final recommendations. Council accepted all recommendations made by the subcommittee including the site recommendation of the Abraham Chavez Theatre and the name, Mexican American Cultural Center. Council also directed City staff to complete a Programmatic Study exploring how to make this site work for the proposed project. Study results were to be presented to Council in no more than 120 days from date assigned.
In order to provide focused, subject matter expertise and quality results in support of the project, two consultant groups, Quintanilla Schmidt Consulting and Carl Daniel/Franco/Saldana Architects, were commissioned to work together to develop the study.
In January 2016, the Programmatic Study exploring the Abraham Chavez Theatre as the site for the cultural center was presented to Council. The original voter-approved budget for the project was $5.75 million. The cost to establish the cultural center at the Abraham Chavez site was $34.6 million.
Council accepted the site recommendation, contingent on the successful raise of pledged support in the amount of $20 million, made by the private sector group, Mexican-American Cultural Institute.
MACI, whose membership included nine of the eighteen members who also served on the Council-appointed bond subcommittee, had previously stepped forward, fully advocating for the location of the MACC at the Chavez Theatre site.
The group also expressed its desire to partner with the City in a public-private partnership in order to realize the creation of the cultural center at the Chavez Theatre site, including a pledge to raise $20 million in additional funding needed to meet the costs of the conversion of the site.
Council-then also directed:
- City staff to transition work on the Project from the MACC Subcommittee to MACI, once MACI was formally incorporated as a non-profit.
- City staff to create benchmarks to align $20 million MACI fundraising pledge with the MACC project development.
Following Council direction and in order to support the success of the fundraising effort, a fundraising strategy study was commissioned. Consultants, Lee + Associates, were contracted to provide subject matter expertise to develop the study.
In January 2017, the consultancy contract was approved by Council.
In September 18, 2017, the consultants, presented the study findings to BOAC, and they presented them to Council the following day. Both presentations were made in executive session. MACI received the presentation via email on September 20, 2017, and were also provided access to hard copies of the full report on that day. The next day, the MACI leadership collected the hard copies of the full report.
In October 2017, City staff and study consultants will meet with MACI board members to review the study findings.