Symphony Reaches $40 Million Fundraising Goal
By Bill Raack, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has reached a major fundraising goal, six months ahead of schedule.
Orchestra officials raised $40 million over the last 3.5 years, matching a grant from St. Louis' Taylor family of the same amount.
Orchestra board chairman Virginia Weldon says the money will help to secure the orchestra's future. "First of all, it raises our endowment significantly," she said Monday. "However, we still have a lot to do. We still have a hill to climb. But now the wind is at our backs and the community believes in us and I think that's really key. For a long time, the community did not believe that we were worthy of their investment."
Weldon says the orchestra endowment will reach $90 million, once all of the challenge grant pledges have been received. Donors have until 2009 to pay them.
The announcement was greeted with applause and standing ovations from supporters, staff and orchestra musicians at Powell Hall.
Symphony President Randy Adams says the $80 million gives the cultural institution a bright future, one that was threatened just three years ago.
"Our cash flow was going to run out in six months when we started on the business plan in July of 2001," Adams said. "Had we not raised the initial stop-gap money of $29 million in cash from some truly important people who helped get us off the ground, we were going to have to close the doors. That's no exaggeration."
The Taylors own Enterprise Rent-a-Car and had issued the challenge in 2000.