The Libra Foundation has agreed to buy a luxury box at the renovated Cumberland County Civic Center for $75,000 a year for 10 years that will be used by charities, community groups and children’s organizations to see events at the arena.
The luxury box, which will be called the Cumberland County Corner, is one of two boxes that have been sold by the arena.
The owner of the other box was not immediately available.
“We wanted to commit and make the statement that we’re in it for the long haul so people know this is working and get excited about the renovated civic center,” said Libra Foundation’s president and chief executive Craig Denakas.
“In our case, it isn’t for advertising. We’re turning it over to the community.”
The luxury box will be managed by the civic center, which will invite various nonprofits and community groups to events.
The support from the Libra Foundation, which has given away $172.8 million in grants in Maine since 1989, continues the group’s involvement with the civic center.
In 1996, when the civic center was facing a cash crunch and looking to sell naming rights to the arena, Libra Foundation’s late founder Elizabeth Noyce offered to pay $1 million to the arena to keep the name the Cumberland County Civic Center.
“This support of the civic center is a continuation of what she started. Her initial gift covered a lot of need at the civic center at the time. This is a whole new realm and to me it’s a continuation of that intent to help the community,” Denakas said.
The civic center is looking for a sponsor to buy the naming rights to the arena, but the Libra Foundation was not interested, Denakas said.
“This community box was really the idea that grabbed our attention,” Denakas said.
Neal Pratt, chairman of the trustees of the civic center, said there has been interest from other organizations in buying luxury boxes and naming rights to the arena, but he expects that interest to accelerate now that the Libra Foundation has committed to a box and the civic center has resolved its lease dispute with the Portland Pirates. The civic center this week also reached a sponsorship pact with Time Warner Cable.
The civic center averages 145 to 160 event days each year.
Jessica Hall may be reached at 791-6316 or at: