As part of the unveiling of a plaque Wednesday to commemorate O’Reilly Automotive’s founding at what is now The Creamery Arts Center building, the family announced its gift of $1.365 million for the Springfield Collaborative Arts Endowment campaign.
The gift serves as a cornerstone of the final phase of the Springfield Arts Collaborative campaign, which announced a goal to raise an additional $2 million over the next 11 months to support long-term financial stability for community arts.
The O’Reilly gift is made possible by Charlie and Mary Beth O’Reilly, Rosalie O’Reilly Wooten, Larry O’Reilly, David O’Reilly, and Dr. Nancy O’Reilly.
The Collaborative Endowment Campaign is an innovative effort to collectively build long-term endowment funds that can help sustain Springfield’s community arts organizations. This collaborative campaign will benefit the Springfield Symphony, the Springfield Ballet, Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Regional Opera Lyric Theatre, and the Springfield Regional Arts Council, along with existing endowments for Arts in Education, the Landers Theatre and the Creamery Arts Center.
The O’Reilly family has long ties to The Creamery Arts Center because the building housed the company’s original store and distribution center for 17 years beginning in 1957.
“The O’Reilly family and O’Reilly Auto Parts are happy to permanently memorialize the role this building played in the beginning of our company,” said Rosalie O’Reilly Wooten, the daughter of Charles “Chub” O’Reilly, who co-founded the company with his father, Charles F. “Pops” O’Reilly. “We’re pleased that it has been preserved and now serves such a positive function for our Arts community.”
The plaque honoring the company’s history at The Creamery was unveiled at the main entrance on the south side of the building.
“We are so fortunate to have a family like the O’Reillys, who built their success right here in Springfield and, in turn, have given so much back to the community through both their service and their financial support for a wide range of projects and institutions,” said Dr. Carl Price, chairman of the Collaborative Arts Endowment Campaign.
The Springfield Arts Collaborative was formed to address sustainable arts funding, a consistent red flag found in the area’s biennial Community Focus Report. Non-profit arts groups across the nation use endowments as a dependable annual resource that provides stability and balance. The campaign seeks to raise current endowments so that the participating arts organizations can increase the percentage of their annual budgets from an endowment. Currently that percentage is 2 percent. The goal is 25 percent, the ideal national average. The endowment currently stands at near $6 million raised. The O’Reilly donation, when added to the $2 million goal for next October, will bring the endowment closet to the $10 million mark.
In addition to the O’Reilly contribution, the campaign has received a generous pioneer gift from the Freelander Family Trust in the amount of $500,000 as well as $100,000 from the campaign’s Leadership committee.