Your support makes our efforts possible. Thank you.
Designate your gift viewing the link below or by clicking on the donate button, or contact The Franco Center to mail in a gift to 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston ME or make a payment over the phone by calling (207)783-1585.
Our stained glass windows look magnificent from a distance, but a closer look reveals cracks (top left) and missing pieces (bottom left). (+ click to enlarge)
Donation for Stained-Glass Window Preservation
The Franco Center has nearly two dozen magnificent stained glass windows dating back to the 1920’s. They are desperately in need of preservation. They are beginning to visibly buckle and bow under the weight of the lead soldering, and our stained glass preservation expert Robin Neely says that without immediate attention they could begin literally popping out at any time. This would be a travesty. In 2005, Ms. Neely estimated that the cost to painstakingly secure them all for generations to come in one fell swoop will easily top $350,000. In the meantime, we’ve prioritized the ones that need immediate attention, and some of the smaller stained glass windows can be preserved individually for as little as $5,000.
At left is a section of an outside wall that has been repointed by a professional mason. At right, a section of a buttress that still needs attention. (+ click to enlarge)
Donation for Masonry Repair
The Franco Center is housed in what used to be, until the year 2000, St. Mary’s Church, which the Catholic Diocese in Maine closed not only because of falling church attendance but also because the magnificent granite structure was in dire need of repair. Specifically, the mortar holding together the building’s massive granite blocks was crumbling and stones were in danger of falling onto the street below. Since saving this building from the wrecking ball, nearly $3 million has been spent on re-pointing the stones, a process by which the old mortar is chiseled out from between each stone and replaced with new. The highest-priority sections of the building have been repaired, but we estimate it will take another $1.3 million to finish the job (see far right photo, taken in April 2013) so that the building will remain structurally sound for another 80 to 100 years.
The Cyclones were a legendary Franco-American hockey team organized by J.B. Marcotte in 1926. Front row: Roland Gagnier, Ronaldo Tremblay Roy, Gérard Leblanc, Marius Legendre, Roland Saucier. Back row: Roger Saucier, Fern Lepage, Gérald Saucier, Henry Desjardins, Julien Deshaies, team manager. (courtesy of Franco-American Collection, Univ. of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College)
Donate to Franco language, cultural initiatives
We’re serious about preserving Franco-American history, language, culture, cuisine and music. In addition to displaying a collection of Franco artifacts and photos, we offer French re-acquisition courses for adults, beginner “Fun in French” classes for kids, and we host a number of concerts each season specifically in the French language. We also host one L/A’s most well-attended monthly events, La Rencontre, a French-language luncheon with food and live entertainment for up to 250 people, and we serve traditional Franco foods at most of our concerts. We keep prices for all of these purposely low to remove any barriers to experiencing Franco culture, because that’s part of our mission. By donating specifically to our cultural programming fund, we’ll restrict these funds to ensuring those programs survive and grow.