Symphony Announces $ 5 Million Campaign to Build Endowment Fund
Leaders of the West Michigan Symphony (WMS) have launched the Play Your Part campaign, a $ 5 million fundraising effort to bolster their endowment while investing in music education programs for children in underserved areas.
Celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2020, WMS presents a series of eight concerts of classical masterpieces and lively pops each year at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Muskegon.
It also offers a 10 concert series featuring jazz, crossover-folk and classical
music at The Block, his intimate live listening room located nearby on Western Avenue.
WMS also enriches the lives of young people in the region through education programs provided free or at low cost to ensure wide access. Offered at The Block and more than 50 area schools, these programs boost children’s creativity and improve academic achievement in a variety of subjects.
Throughout the pandemic, WMS continued to fulfill its mission through a revolutionary virtual concert hall format, engaging subscribers, ticket buyers and area schools online.
New youth orchestra
Over $ 3 million – 60% of IThis objective has been addressed to date during the âquietâ phase of the Play Your Part campaign, which started last November. More than 60 community donors, local businesses and foundations in the region have supported the campaign to date.
An important goal of the campaign is to secure the long-term future of the symphony. Successful symphonies across the country typically generate at least 15% of their organizational budget from endowment income. The West Michigan Symphony currently generates only 2% of its endowment budget. The Play Your Role campaign will help increase the size of the endowment to bring WMS on par with its peers across the country.
The campaign will also help fund Tune Up, a new youth orchestra program slated to launch in the fall of 2022. Tune Up will provide Muskegon children with access to high quality music education with the least amount of resources and money. greater need, thus helping to develop well-balanced students. through the study of instrumental music and tutoring in an after-school program.
Tune Up will be held in partnership with Muskegon Public Schools as part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center IMPACT program, which provides after school enrichment opportunities. This will build on IMPACT’s already established safe and supportive environment – including tutoring, snacks and camaraderie – while adding a much needed musical element. Students will receive free use of a musical instrument, learn to play that instrument, participate in ensemble and section classes, make friendships, and receive musical and academic support from teaching artists and qualified staff .
Public phase of the campaign
As part of a recent fundraising announcement, the campaign’s operational chairmen, Jan Deur, a retired Verizon executive, and Kay Olthoff, a long-time community volunteer, invited the public to join the fundraising effort, which will continue until the end of the year.
âAs we work to provide the best in arts programming for children and youth in the area, I am happy to be part of an effort that improves children’s outcomes in the classroom,â says Olthoff, a longtime champion of music education which has always supported the growth of WMS programs.
âSecuring the future of the symphony is an essential aspect of this campaign,â adds Deur.
So far, the campaign has received broad support from local and regional foundations, businesses in the region and generous community donors.
âWe were fortunate to receive gifts for this important campaign. Our campaign cabinet joins me in thanking the community for their significant donations. We are now inviting the entire community to help us carry out this campaign effort. We welcome gifts of all sizes, âsays Deur.
The August 26 announcement marked the start of the public phase of the $ 5 million campaign.
âThis is a tremendous opportunity for the community to help build an exceptional arts organization,â said Scott Speck, Music Director of WMS. âIn order to deepen our impact on the community, we need to bring music and music education to areas where the need is greatest. “