Victory Electric Cooperative, Assn., Inc., recently announced the Depot Theater Company in Dodge City as the recipient of this year’s Victory/CoBank "Sharing Success" Grant.

The Depot Theater has been awarded two checks totaling $10,000 – $5,000 from Victory Electric and $5,000 from CoBank – to help purchase a new lighting control system for the theater.

"The lighting and technical equipment originally installed in the theater is now more than 12 years old, and we find the lighting control board has become less and less dependable and is no longer repairable," said John Snuff, Depot Theater executive director. "As the Depot Theater continues to grow, we must occasionally upgrade and replace equipment to provide our patrons with the best possible entertainment experience. We plan to increase our programming with more local theatrical productions, events and special performances, and our stage lighting will play an integral part in assuring each production is of the highest caliber." 

The roots of the Depot Theater are deep into the history of Dodge City. The Company began performing as the "Boot Hill Museum Repertory Company" in 1983, but their true start began 25 years earlier when Rosemary Lewis

Mock created the nightly Long Branch Variety Show at Boot Hill in 1958. The Company eventually outgrew their space and created the Homestead Theater in a vacant building adjacent to the Santa Fe Depot.

When the opportunity arose to build a new theater connected to the historic Santa Fe Depot and make use of renovated sections of the old Fred Harvey Hotel and Harvey Girls Dormitory, the Company jumped at the chance. 

Thousands of volunteer hours later and with millions of dollars raised, the current Depot Theater was built and the Company officially changed its name to the Depot Theater Company in 2006.  Today, the Depot Theater Company continues to provide outstanding entertainment for patrons from across Southwest Kansas and beyond.

"The Depot Theater is an important part of the local entertainment scene and it’s great to support an organization dedicated to entertaining local citizens and increasing tourism to our historic community," said Victory Electric CEO Shane Laws. "I’m pleased, on behalf of Victory Electric, to award this grant to the Depot Theater."

The annual "Sharing Success" grant opportunity, capped at $10,000, is made possible by Victory’s governing board of trustees, in partnership with CoBank – a national nonprofit cooperative bank owned by the rural American cooperatives it services, including Victory. This year, CoBank established a $3 million fund to match charitable contributions made by its cooperative members. The matching grant program is designed to celebrate the vital role that cooperatives play in individual communities across the country. CoBank states that partnering with their customers to support worthy causes they care about is a great way for them to make a positive difference and fulfill its mission of service to rural America.

"Thanks to our board of trustees and CoBank, the ‘Sharing Success’ Grant has enabled Victory to give back to the communities we serve," Laws said.

This is the fifth year Victory has awarded "Sharing Success" grants to local non-profits. Applicants must be federally recognized as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. The Bucklin Library received a $10,000 grant in 2012 to help fund the construction of their new library building. And in 2013, the Mission of Mercy dental clinic in Dodge City was awarded $10,000. The project funded in 2014 was the Stauth Memorial Museum in Montezuma for their "Suits in Space" exhibit. And last year, local shelter and food bank, the Manna House, was awarded the grant to repair and upgrade their facilities.

The Victory Electric Cooperative Assn., Inc., a member-owned electric distribution cooperative, is headquartered in Dodge City and serves all or parts of nine counties in southwest Kansas. Victory was organized in 1947 to serve primarily farm residential services. Through the years, Victory has expanded to a broad consumer base of diversified loads ranging from industrial, commercial and irrigation loads with 2,700 miles of transmission and distribution line.