Leadership Gift for Northlight’s New Home

by Northlight Theatre

Finnegan Family donates $3 million toward the Northlight’s Next Act Campaign
for building the new theatre in Evanston

Northlight Theatre is thrilled to announce a leadership gift from past President/Chairperson of the theatre’s Board of Trustees Paul Finnegan for its new theatre building at 1012-16 Church Street in downtown Evanston. The $3 million gift from the Finnegan Family brings Northlight’s campaign funds raised to over $20 million, bringing the campaign within reach of its pre-construction goal of $24 million.

In response to the generous $3 million gift from the Finnegan family, Northlight is initiating a challenge for the Board, Advisory Council, Evanston Business and Community leaders, and other key stakeholders to match this significant donation. Northlight anticipates the challenge of an additional $3 million will not only be met but exceeded, given that this landmark gift has already unlocked several other major donations, indicating a strong wave of support and enthusiasm for Northlight’s new home initiative.

The theatre intends to break ground in early 2025 with a completion date of Fall 2026. Northlight Theatre purchased the property located at 1012-16 Church Street in downtown Evanston in summer of 2021.

This future theatre will be a major component in the arts and cultural scene in Chicagoland and the North Shore, and will for decades bring artists, audiences, students, and community members together to experience compassionate and compelling art, entertainment, and theatre education.

Reflecting on the gift, Paul stated “It’s time to get this done and bring Northlight home.”

Paul Finnegan is Chairman of Madison Dearborn Partners. From 2007-2023, Paul served as Co-CEO of the firm. He is the past Treasurer of Harvard University, a current member of the Harvard Corporation and Chair of the Harvard Management Company. He also serves on the Investment Committee of Bowdoin College. He is the past Chairman and a current board member of Teach For America in Chicago. Paul currently serves on the Boards of Directors of AIA Corporation, Procurated, Inc., and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

“Northlight Theatre is grateful for the Finnegan family’s generosity, support, and vote of confidence in our plan to build a world-class theatre in downtown Evanston. This donation propels the project forward,” commented Executive Director Timothy J. Evans. “We have long sought a home of our own and this brings us within reach of our world-class theatre in downtown Evanston in the vibrant and diverse community where we began.”

Artistic Director BJ Jones added, “Paul Finnegan led the search which brought me to Northlight 26 years ago and has been a longtime supporter of Northlight Theatre as a Board officer, donor, and patron. This integral gift from our distinguished friend propels us into our next stage of fundraising and planning and brings us within reach of realizing our plans. Paul is the driving force that brought us to the North Shore Center 26 years ago and has been a major contributor to the well-being of Northlight since.”

For more information visit northlightsnextact.org, or to get involved with the campaign, contact Capital Campaign Director Kim Hoopingarner at khoopingarner@northlight.org.