Confluence Arts Center Reaches $5 Million in Pledges

Support Pledges for Confluence Arts Center Total More than $5 Million

March 27, 2014

In response to a $250,000 challenge match issued by Charter Bank in mid-February, additional commitments of $425,000 have been pledged over the past six weeks in support of the proposed Confluence Project community arts center in downtown Eau Claire.

Charter Bank announced Feb. 14 that it would match, up to a total of $250,000, any new pledges of $25,000 or more made by March 31 in support of the Confluence arts center. The following pledges have resulted in a response that far exceeds the challenge amount:

  • $100,000 from Justin Vernon of the award-winning musical group Bon Iver;
  • $100,000 from Northwestern Bank; and
  • $225,000 in personal commitments from several individuals who wish to remain anonymous.

The recent pledges significantly boosted the amount of committed private support for the arts center, the centerpiece of the Confluence Project, a proposed revitalization of property commonly referred to as the “Haymarket Site” at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. The project is a public-private partnership that also seeks to construct a privately developed commercial/retail and apartment complex suitable for university student housing on the site.

“We’re very pleased to see such positive and generous response to Charter Bank’s matching gift challenge of $250,000,” said Paul Kohler, president of Charter Bank. “The commitments from businesses and individuals demonstrate the broad base of support for the Confluence community arts center and hopefully add important momentum to the philanthropy expectation for the center. When all areas of our community work together on a common goal, we can accomplish tremendous things.”

Jerry Jacobson, president of Northwestern Bank, said the bank’s board was unanimous in its support of the pledge for the community arts center.

“We believe this project is great for all of the Chippewa Valley, not just Eau Claire and the university,” Jacobson said. “Everyone in the region will benefit and for many, many years. This is an investment in the future, and that’s what we here at Northwestern Bank are all about. It’s a pleasure to be a part of something so transformational.”

With these latest commitments, more than $5 million has been pledged toward the Confluence Arts Center as part of the $13 million in philanthropy identified for the $50 million facility.

For more information about philanthropy efforts in support of the Confluence Project, contact Kimera Way, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, at 715-836-5180 or, or Ben Richgruber, executive director of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, at 715-832-2787 or, or visit