Published December 7th, 2022
Mechanics Bank donates $10K to support The Park Theater Renovation Capital Campaign
From left: Sara Regan and Jay Lifson of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, Sana Bhumbla, Rauly Butler and May Gonzalez from Mechanics Bank, Tracey Farrell, Kathy Bowles, Jana Corey from The Park Theater Trust. Photo provided
Lafayette's all-volunteer nonprofit Park Theater Trust (TPTT) - and actually the entire Lamorinda community and East Bay - is the recent beneficiary of a $10,000 grant from Mechanics Bank to TPTT's Park Theater Renovation Capital Campaign.
Why such a broad-reaching effect? "This generous grant will make an immediate impact in our fundraising efforts to bring back Lafayette's much-loved community cinema for all to enjoy," says Kathy Bowles, fundraising chair and TPTT board member, "particularly as right now, two generous families have pledged to match, dollar for dollar up to $350,000, every donation to our renovation campaign." The match campaign challenge runs until Dec. 31.
"We share our East Bay roots with the Park Theater, which has been an architectural marvel and community centerpiece in Lafayette since 1941," said Rauly Butler, executive vice president and director of retail banking for Mechanics Bank. "Restoring its splendor for classic films, indie releases, and a wide range of events and activities will make the theater a vibrant community hub that entertains for many generations to come."
Almost a year ago, thanks primarily to gifts from private citizens, businesses, family foundations, and the city of Lafayette, the 510(c)(3) nonprofit TPTT founded in 2019 raised the $3 million needed to purchase and protect Lafayette's historic downtown cinema built in 1941 and dark since 2005. Now TPTT volunteers are working to raise the $5 million for the renovation of the Park into a two-theater movie and live music venue with a commercial kitchen, community space, and Lafayette's only rooftop terrace. The goal is to re-open in 2024 offering first-run art/indie films, new Hollywood releases and classics, special events, and live music curated by highly regarded CinemaSF ( as the operator.
The past few months have seen a flurry of fundraising activities supporting this grassroots effort, including sold-out dinner benefits at REVE Bistro, and Hideout Kitchen, featuring jazz recording artist Shawn Raiford and his band. Point of sale support has come from local merchants Five Little Monkeys toy store and Clocks, Etc., and in August, the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce hosted along with Hollie's Homegrown and Sideboard a packed Chamber Mixer. For the holidays, TPTT is selling custom Park T-shirts, totes, water bottles and collectible pins through Lamorinda Music. The response from the community continues to be one of excitement and engagement, which was evident when TPTT gave out over 500 bags of popcorn to eager families at the recent Trick or Treat Street Chamber event in October.
The Park Theater Trust's mission is to restore and operate Lafayette's iconic Park Theater building and revitalize it into an accessible and inclusive, community-centered cinema, arts and culture hub with programming that includes critically acclaimed films, throwback favorites and engaging nonfilm events. For more information or to donate to the Park Theater Renovation Match Challenge, please visit

Reach the reporter at:

Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA