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A Scramble to Match Church Grant

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"If we don't get that money, we don't get the grant," says Katie Taylor, development and public-relations manager.

The grant will aid the $2 million restoration of the crumbling, waterlogged landmark on Broad Street, for which the foundation already has $1 million.

Completed in 1814, the sandstone structure was built to honor those who died in the theater fire. Robert Mills, the architect of the Washington Monument, designed the church.

Now it badly needs a new roof and structural repairs. Sarah Cooleen, the church project manager, says a crumbling urn of Carrara marble, carved with the victims' names, is "now literally turning into sugar."

One obstacle to fund-raising is that few Richmonders have heard the story of the church and realize its importance, Cooleen says. More and more, the foundation is relying on the Quoit Club, a group of more than 200 preservation enthusiasts, to spread the story and help raise money.

Ideas for creative moneymakers include an "Antiques Roadshow"-style appraisal fair or, as HRF has done before, a sale of donated antiques. Another idea is to give donors pieces of water-damaged beams (which will have to be removed anyway) to thank them. It's simple, Cooleen says: "For supporting the church, you get a church support." — M.S.S.

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