Evans Family Makes $75,000 Donation to Help Restore Vouge Theatre

ONEKAMA, MICHIGAN —   When Bob Evans and family relocated to Onekama in Manistee County from their home 300 miles away in Temperance, Michigan, they didn’t know that they would have a big role in the quality of life of thousands of future County residents and visitors.

But the Evans family has done just that, most recently with the single largest donation to date to restore and reopen the Vogue Theatre, a gift of $75,000 to the Manistee County Community Foundation.

“The City of Manistee is blessed with beautiful Lake Michigan beaches, a river and riverwalk, and an historic district that other communities would die for,” says Bob Evans. ” But the downtown needs a shot in the arm. When I heard about the Vogue restoration project, we jumped at the opportunity to help.   The reopening of the theatre, along with a complimentary strategy to attract the right kind of jobs and businesses, will make Manistee a top destination in Michigan and in the Midwest. On a personal note, I also want a community theatre so that my daughter and I can join other families in escaping to a weekend matinee!”

Evans was also a leader and instrumental in the passage of a $14 million millage to expand and develop Onekama Consolidated Schools and has invested in bringing filmmaking to the region as a new and exciting path for jobs and economic development. While residing in Manistee County, Evans continues to have a senior role in managing a large distribution company located in greater Detroit.

“People long to live in northern Michigan because of its natural beauty and the opportunities at our doorstep to fish, swim, ski and enjoy our four-season wonderland,” Evans says.   “But along with this privilege comes a responsibility to volunteer in ways that we can so that our children and grandchildren have the options and opportunities they need to grow, learn and prosper. This is a rare opportunity to invest in a cultural annuity that will benefit our county and region in countless ways. This can and should be a defining moment and I hope everyone will dig deeply to make it happen.”

The Vogue Theatre restoration project began with the purchase of the long-dormant property by the Manistee Downtown Development Authority. Academy award winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore kicked off the restoration in February with a commitment of programming, financial and technical assistance to support the Vogue following the successful restoration of the State Theatre in Traverse City and its impact on the revitalization of that downtown.

The restoration of the Vogue is directed by a nonprofit organization, the Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee, that is governed by a seven member board that includes Michael Moore and Deb Lake, Executive Director of the Traverse City Film Festival along with community leaders from Manistee.   Financial contributions to the project can be made to the Manistee County Community Foundation online by going towww.manisteefoundation.org.