Portsmouth developers match up to $ 100K for arts and hunger nonprofits


PORTSMOUTH – XXS Hotels and Cathartes launched the Portsmouth Together 200 Challenge to raise $ 200,000 to support local arts programs, restaurants and the fight against hunger until early summer.

Mark Stebbins of XSS Hotels and Jeff Johnston, director of Cathartes, have agreed to match up to $ 100,000 in donations that the public makes for fundraising.

The fundraising effort, Stebbins said, is aimed at “building a bridge over COVID” to help people get the support they need “until the summer, when we’re back and Portsmouth is back”.

“Community is very important to us both emotionally and economically, and we know, from the three hotels we own together, how important the arts are to the community and bring people into the community and bring tourism in the community, ”Stebbins said Thursday. “We know we have to keep our community healthy, so hunger and feeding people healthy food is a very, very important part of maintaining a healthy community.

Stebbins and Johnston announced the initiative on the outdoor terrace of the AC Hotel’s Rooftop at Envio restaurant in downtown Portsmouth on an unusually warm March day.

The couple decided to “pool our resources and find something different, not only to donate money to these charities, but also to get others to donate money,” said Stebbins.

Donations can be made to the Portsmouth Together 200 Challenge at together200.org.

“We were both talking about individual investments in the arts and hunger, and we decided to pool our resources from all the assets we have here in Portsmouth,” Stebbins said.

Cathartes and XSS Hotels are partnering with Cross Roads House, Take Out Hunger, Gather, Music Hall, 3S Artspace, Prescott Park Arts Festival, Seacoast Repertory Theater and Portsmouth Music and Arts Center, which will receive the funds raised.

Representatives from the groups attended the event to announce the fundraiser, which included remarks from Stebbins, Johnston and Mayor Rick Becksted.

Johnston said that “a lot of what we do on the residential side is to build community and the arts have always been very important in that regard.”

“We’re on optimism right now, we’re outside, its 62 degrees, so let’s be positive and get (through) the next 100 days and I hope this summer is a better one for all of us,” he said. he declared.

“Jeff and I are very optimistic that the summer with a lot of (vaccination) needles in people’s arms and herd immunity, that Portsmouth will be overrun this summer and restaurants will thrive and people can go back there. . inside in theaters, ”he said.

Becksted said the initiative and the positivity that comes with it “means so much to the city of Portsmouth”.

He then announced that he was donating $ 500 to the Portsmouth Together 200 Challenge.

Following Thursday’s press conference, Becksted credited Stebbins and Johnston with agreeing to match up to $ 100,000 in donations.

“I think it’s amazing. It’s a huge thing to make that contribution and to challenge others to contribute, ”he said.

Martha Stone, Executive Director of Cross Roads House, called the fundraiser “a tremendous help to us.”

“Cross Roads House needs to raise over a million dollars in donations each year just to cover our regular operating expenses,” she said. “So any kind of donation is a huge help to us.”

It also reminds people that “as the pandemic hopefully begins to fade away, the needs of organizations like Cross Roads House and everyone else here continue, and we need the support of the public and the community. business, ”Stone said.

“People tend to respond to the corresponding opportunities, so it’s really exciting and we are very grateful that they mobilized in this way, which is so generous,” she said after the event. Thursday.

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