Hanesbrands Inc. announced today that it has pledged $2 million to The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County to build a new performing arts theatre adjacent to the historic Sawtooth Building in downtown Winston-Salem.
The gift for the 300-seat facility, which will be named Hanesbrands Theatre, also kicked off the public announcement of The Arts Council’s $26 million capital fundraising campaign that will be used to transform the Sawtooth Building into a Downtown Center for the Arts and create an endowment to sustain it.
“Hanesbrands is proud to support the performing arts. Our company is a major charitable giver in the community, and our employees have a long history of supporting Arts Council programs,” said Hanesbrands Chief Executive Officer Richard A. Noll, who presented a ceremonial check at the announcement ceremony on behalf of the company’s 3,400 employees in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
Hanesbrands announced the gift at an Arts Council news conference attended by a broad cross section of the arts community, as well as local government and civic leaders. The kick-off featured the unveiling of artist renderings of the Downtown Center for the Arts and Hanesbrands Theatre.
“Through our annual Arts Council fundraising campaign, our employees have made our company the top corporate contributor locally in terms of employee-based giving,” Noll said. “We are delighted to be able to add to our employees’ generosity by making this pledge to bring us to the $2 million mark and allow construction of the new theatre.”
Hanesbrands Theatre will be a black-box theatre located in the former AC Delco Battery garage at Second and Spruce streets. A black-box theatre provides maximum flexibility because seating and staging can be configured to accommodate theatre, dance and film presentations. Hanesbrands Theatre will also feature state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment.
Construction will begin in September and the theatre’s grand opening is expected in 2010. Hanesbrands and the Downtown Center for the Arts will hold a special performance each year at the theatre for Hanesbrands employees.
From 1911 to 1926, the Sawtooth Building was the site of a Hanes Hosiery mill. Hanesbrands Theatre is expected to open a century after the building opened as a men’s sock production plant.
“Hanesbrands Theatre will keep Winston-Salem and Forsyth County as a national leader in the arts,” Noll said. “We’re pleased that our gift will make it possible for the Sawtooth Building to undergo a transformation that will extend its usefulness and contributions to the community for another century and beyond.”
“I want to thank Hanesbrands for its corporate leadership with this extremely generous gift to the Comprehensive Campaign, as well as for its long history of giving to the arts in Winston-Salem. Including this gift, Hanesbrands and its employees have contributed more than $5.6 million to The Arts Council over the past decade, making them the largest corporate givers to The Arts Council,” said Arts Council President and CEO Milton Rhodes.
Rhodes said Hanesbrands Theatre will meet a need expressed by more than a dozen arts groups for space in the downtown area for performances and other events.
“The theatre has been a dream of the arts community for several years now, and we were excited when Hanesbrands stepped forward. Hanesbrands Theatre will be a valuable resource for many organizations – and a favorite of audiences,” he said.
Hanesbrands is in the midst of its 2008 Arts Council employee campaign, which ends April 4. The company and its employees have historically placed the company among The Arts Council’s top corporate givers. Last year, Hanesbrands contributed $282,000 to The Arts Council, including employee pledges and a corporate gift.
In the past decade, Hanesbrands also has been the largest corporate contributor to United Way of Forsyth County, with employee and corporate gifts totaling more than $22.5 million since 1999.
Hanesbrands Inc. (NYSE: HBI) is a leading marketer of innerwear, outerwear and hosiery apparel under strong consumer brands, including Hanes, Champion, Playtex, Bali, JustMySize, barelythere and Wonderbra. The company designs, manufactures, sources and sells T-shirts, bras, panties, men’s underwear, children’s underwear, socks, hosiery, casual wear and active wear. Hanesbrands has approximately 50,000 employees in more than 25 countries. More information about Hanesbrands Inc. may be found on the internet at http://www.hanesbrands.com.