Philadelphia Orchestra joins the Neubauer Family Foundation in announcing a $10-million challenge grant to the Orchestra, the first major endowment contribution since the successful conclusion of musicians' contract negotiations. The contribution will establish endowment funds to support the music director's special artistic initiatives, including the commissioning of new works. It will increase efforts to bring the Orchestra to a broader audience outside the concert hall and into the wider world. Finally, the grant will endow the principal trombone chair, currently held by Nitzan Haroz.
"Great art is the signature of great civilizations. In an era of declining arts education and classical music broadcasts, the Neubauer Family Foundation salutes the Philadelphia Orchestra for its artistic excellence and for perpetuating critical humanistic values," said Joseph Neubauer, a member of the Orchestra's board of directors and former chairman of the board. "We commend the Orchestra, music director, Christoph Eschenbach and staff for their artistic vision, fiscal discipline and plans to provide great music to audiences throughout the region and the world. With this challenge grant, we invite others to join us in strengthening and sustaining this cultural treasure for future generations."
The challenge grant calls upon the Orchestra to strengthen fundraising from its board of directors and establish a broader fundraising base in the community by raising an additional $20 million for its endowment, $10 million from its board and $10 million from other donors by August 31, 2005. Upon satisfaction of these challenge requirements, the Orchestra's endowment campaign will have reached the $100 million mark. The grant also requires the Orchestra to maintain balanced operating budgets for the next five years. The first $2 million payment will be presented to the Orchestra this month. The Pew Charitable Trusts will administer the challenge grant on behalf of the Neubauer Family Foundation.
The major portion of the funds will be available to be used for recruiting and retaining outstanding musicians, engaging exceptional guest conductors and soloists, commissioning new works and funding other experimental work. Another significant amount will be used for audience expansion activities such as national radio broadcasts and outreach programs such as the successful Sound All Around for young children.
"This generous and visionary challenge grant is a resounding vote of confidence in The Philadelphia Orchestra," said Richard L. Smoot, chairman of The Philadelphia Orchestra. "The support of the Neubauer Family Foundation, on the heels of the new contract with our musicians, sets the tone for renewed focus on our artistic, community outreach, education and financial goals. Christoph Eschenbach joins me in expressing our deepest appreciation for its generosity, and commitment to help us achieve these goals."
"Thanks to the leadership of Joseph and Jeanette Neubauer, we are able to make a significant move forward in our endowment campaign and ensure that The Philadelphia Orchestra remains one of the preeminent orchestras in the world," said Peter A. Benoliel, chairman of the Orchestra's endowment campaign.
The Philadelphia Orchestra Association announced the public phase of a five-year, $125 million endowment campaign, entitled A Sound, A City, A Civilization, in September 2003. Commitments to the campaign include a lead gift of $50 million from the Annenberg Foundation, along with other major leadership gifts that allowed the Orchestra to raise the original campaign goal from $75 million to $125 million. Upon completion of the Neubauer Family Foundation challenge, the endowment campaign will have attained $100 million in commitments. A Sound, A City, A Civilization will assure the future of Philadelphia's most renowned performing arts institution. Internationally prized for its distinctive sound and virtuosity, The Philadelphia Orchestra serves as a cultural, educational and economic catalyst for the Philadelphia region. However, its endowment has long lagged behind that of its peers. Successful completion of this endowment campaign will provide greater funding stability for the organization, by augmenting annual giving and helping to fulfill its vision of bringing great symphonic music to the broadest possible audiences.