Million dollar boost for new SAM

By John Lewis

The Shepparton Art Museum Foundation has been boosted by a $1 million donation the Copulos family.

SAM Foundation chair John Head and SAM Ltd chairman Stephen Merrylees said they were delighted to receive a signed agreement from the Peter and Maria Copulos Foundation for its significant contribution to the SAM Foundation which has so far raised $5.7 million of its total contribution of $12.5 million.

The SAM Foundation's contribution to the new museum is divided into two separate streams — $7 million for the building, and just over $5 million as an endowment to assist with the continued running of the museum.

The foundation's fundraising targets were kick-started in 2014 when Mr Copulos’ son Stephen launched the SAM Tree of Giving with a $20 000 donation.

Mr Head thanked the Copulos family for its generosity.

“Their ongoing investment in important projects for the Greater Shepparton community enables organisations such as ours to make a real difference. Such a significant contribution assists with the new SAM becoming a reality,” Mr Head said.

In acknowledgement of Mr Copulos’ $1 million gift, the new SAM building foyer will carry the Peter Copulos and Family name.

Mr Copulos arrived in Australia as an eight-year-old and went on to build a successful Shepparton-based business empire with interests in property development, mining, manufacturing, fast food and hospitality.

Mr Copulos said he and his family were happy to give back to the community which had supported their business.

“I have been very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to come to Shepparton at a young age and to be able to work hard and build up our family business here. This town and region have been very good to me and my family and I value the opportunity now to give back to significant projects like the new SAM, which will have lasting benefits for Shepparton’s future”, Mr Copulos said.

SAM director Rebecca Coates said the gift was proof that donors and supporters understood the importance of arts and culture to the Shepparton community.

“A gift of this magnitude underlies Shepparton Art Museum’s importance in leading the way in aspiration and action, and creating a place and space that will provide boundless opportunities and meaningful experiences for members of our community and beyond,” Dr Coates said.

Mr Head said the foundation had been endorsed as a tax deductible gift recipient, and further donations were welcome.

To make a donation, phone Kylie McCarrey on 5831 1499 or [email protected]

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