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Grand Rapids Symphony endowment expands programming and community accessibility

The Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony has raised $40 million for its endowment as part of a campaign that started in 2012. How will that $40 million dollars be used to secure future programming?

The Grand Rapids Symphony first organized in 1930.

“We want to share great music that moves the human soul.”

Peter Kjome is Grand Rapids Symphony President and CEO.

“But going beyond that we also want to be integral and indispensable in our community.”

Following the Great Recession, the symphony sought a long-term financial strategy. It’s annual operating budget is roughly $9 million.

“Of that about one-third comes from ticket sales, about half comes from fundraising and the rest comes from endowment and other sources.”

In 2012 the Legacy of Excellence Campaign began with a $20 million commitment from Richard and Helen DeVos. It received an additional $20 million in pledges and promises from 150 individuals, couples, corporations and foundations.

“The security of a well-funded endowment provides is a powerful draw to attract topnotch musicians and artistic leaders and importantly we’re in final stage of our multiyear music director search and the timing of this campaign, and successfully concluding this campaign, is going to be very helpful in attracting a top notch music director and to attract and retain exceptional musicians in the orchestra.”

The endowment, as Kjome pointed out earlier is indispensable to the community.

“Its part of the reason why we’re putting in place programs like Free for Families and Symphony Scorecard that helps to reduce the economic barriers to attendance and that program is enabled in part by this endowment campaign.”

The Grand Rapids Symphony produces nearly 50 different programs and roughly 130 concerts per season.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.