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Updated: June 26, 2020

One Longfellow Square in Portland sets new fundraising goal of $175K

Exterior One Longfellow Square Photo / Renee Cordes Closed as it struggles to survive: One Longfellow Square in Portland, whose plea for help is displayed on its windows along with support for Black Lives Matter.

After raising enough money to pay the bills through next summer, Portland nonprofit performing arts venue One Longfellow Square is continuing its fundraising push to keep its staff employed.

The venue, which was to have hosted Maine comedian Bob Marley this evening — he'll be performing instead at Scarborough's Clambake Restaurant — remains closed because of coronavirus-related restrictions on gatherings.

In a crowdfunded campaign, One Longfellow Square recently surpassed its original $100,000 fundraising goal.

It plans to use the money to pay bills for utilities, insurance and internet support services.

That goal has now been increased to $175,000 "in the hopes of holding on to our incredible staff who will look for an alternative way to safely bring music to the public in the coming months and prepare to resume shows in the venue when that becomes possible."

By 10 a.m. Friday, the fundraising tally was at $121,775, raised by 1,384 people in 11 days.

Through a challenge match, someone identified as a "friend" of One Longfellow Square has pledged to match all new donations up to $20,000, which the organization said will help raise up to $40,000 towards its new goal.

"Thank you again for believing in One Longfellow Square," the organization said in its latest plea. "We couldn't picture Portland without OLS, and we're honored that you all agree. We encourage you to share our story with your friends and family and help keep the music alive."

One Longfellow Square, at 181 State St., began in 2007 as a for-profit business and became a nonprofit in 2011, using members' gifts to cover the gap between show revenues and costs.

Jeff Beam, program director and venue manager for One Longfellow Square, recently told Mainebiz about the venue's importance to the community as a whole.

"It's a partnership we have in this community's ecosystem," he said. "People from all over Maine and beyond come to our venue to see their favorite artists, but before the show, they eat dinner at a nearby restaurant. Our shows end early, so our folks grab drinks at the nearby bars afterward, too. To lose OLS would be to lose an important pillar of Portland's creative and economic identity."

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