The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO) says it has raised $7.1 million through the Orchestrating the Future fundraising campaign. The three-year fundraising campaign, which had an established goal of $7 million, concluded in June.
The funds raised through the campaign benefit five key opportunities for ASO, including growing the base of annual fund donors, building the endowment, supporting the ASO during the renovation of Robinson Center Music Hall (which reopens in November), expanding music education programs and raising capital to continue creative innovations.
ASO said it has been in the black for seven years.
“It’s a very exciting day for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra as well as orchestra supporters throughout the state,” said Dr. Richard Wheeler, chairman of the ASO Board of Directors. “The funds raised through this campaign will keep the orchestra accessible, so each and every Arkansan can experience the joy of live symphonic music.”
“We wanted to ensure the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra remains not only accessible, but also sustainable for generations,” said Christina Littlejohn, CEO of the ASO. “Donor support through the campaign helped the orchestra with remaining financially stable while performing out of Robinson, building our endowment, which ensures a long, robust future for this orchestra, and bringing new ideas to life such as the Sturgis Music Academy. The new string academy will enable children to actively participate in music making, building audiences for generations to come.”
The Stella Boyle Smith Trust contributed the lead gift to the campaign, which continued a long tradition of the Trust’s support for the ASO. The first concert given by the symphony was held in Stella Boyle Smith’s living room 50 years ago.
Several donors made leadership gifts to the campaign, including Julie and Chris Keller III, the Philip R. Jonsson Family Foundation, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Beth and Dr. Richard Wheeler, Jan and Dr. Randal Hundley, Terri and Chuck Erwin and Ellen Gray.
The Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust made a gift to fund the Sturgis Music Academy, which ensures children will have the opportunity to learn and play an instrument, which helps develop discipline, team work, listening and reading skills.
Dr. Richard Wheeler, Martin Thoma, Jan Hundley, Gus Vratsinas, Dr. Phil Peters and Philip Mann served as co-chairs of the campaign.