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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Wege Foundations awards GR Symphony $1 million grant supporting inclusion and diversity programming

GR Symphony audiences
Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony has been awarded a $1 million grant enhancing its diversity, equity and inclusion programs. 

Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director, Marcelo Lehninger is steadfast in his belief that the symphony belongs to everyone.

The Wege Foundation is making a financial commitment to serving a 21st century audience with a four-year, $1 million grant engaging a broader and more diverse audience. In recent years the symphony is reaching younger audiences by performing live popular music scores to movies projected in DeVos Performance Hall and it’s engaging students in West Michigan class rooms.

I asked symphony President Peter Perez what it can now with $1 million dollar award that it couldn’t do in recent years.

“The first-ever free community concert at John Ball Zoo is just the beginning of taking the orchestra out of the traditional space where we perform which is either DeVos Performance Hall or St. Cecilia. We want to perform around the community in the various spaces that are available, that are more comfortable for community enthusiasts, and where parking is a little less expensive, so we’ll be planning some of those things as the future unfolds. And in addition this will allow us to work with Paul Doyle, the founder and CEO of Inclusive Performance Strategies. Paul and his staff will be working with our staff as we move forward to ensure that we’re understanding the ways in which we can reach these diverse audiences.”

The free John Ball Zoo community concert is scheduled for 7pm, Saturday July 21st.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

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.