Five Cleveland corporations have pledged a total of $6 million to fund the launch of audience development programs which are part of The Cleveland Orchestra’s new Center for Future Audiences.
Baker Hostetler, Eaton Corporation, Forest City Enterprises, KeyBank, and NACCO Industries have each pledged gifts of $1 million or more. The five corporations all have a lengthy and committed history of supporting The Cleveland Orchestra.
The Orchestra’s new Center for Future Audiences, announced last year, is endowed by the Maltz Family Foundation. The Center is a multi-faceted and long-term audience development initiative with a $20 million lead gift from the Foundation. The Center’s ambitious goals include developing the youngest audience anywhere for a symphony orchestra by the time of The Cleveland Orchestra’s centennial in 2018. One of the Center’s flagship programs toward that goal is “Under 18 Free,” designed to make Blossom Festival concerts accessible and inexpensive for families to attend. The program began with the Orchestra’s July 3 Blossom performance and will run for the duration of the festival, that closes on September 10 with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony led by Jahja Ling. In addition to the “Under 18 Free” program, the Center for Future Audiences’ programs also include Severance Hall’s popular Fridays@7 and Celebrity Series; and a new online discount program for adults 18 to 36 that will begin with the 2011-12 season.
Announcing the new corporate support, Cleveland Orchestra Executive Director Gary Hanson said, “We are profoundly grateful for the philanthropic leadership demonstrated by these new sponsorship commitments. We thank these five generous companies for embracing the vision of the Maltz Family Foundation. Together they will help transform the Orchestra’s audiences.”
The gifts in support of the Center and the sponsored programs was publicly recognized at the July 2 opening night of the 2011 Blossom Festival, a benefit concert featuring The Cleveland Orchestra with guest artist Idina Menzel, under the direction of conductor Steven Reineke. The benefit event, sponsored by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, raised an additional $500,000 for the Center for Future Audiences.
In addition to the $6 million in corporate sponsorship, the Cleveland Orchestra will also receive a $500,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation as part of the Foundation’s recently announced “Engaging the Future” initiative that aims to help arts organizations in Northeast Ohio to attract younger and more diverse audiences. In addition to the grant, that provides operating support to the Orchestra for this program, “Engaging the Arts” will include workshops and seminars led by EmcArts, a New York-based consulting group that specializes in helping cultural organizations adapt to change.