Arts Patron Pledges $85 Million to Support Cincinnati Arts Groups

Longtime arts patron and philanthropist Louise Nippert has pledged $85 million to help support Cincinnati arts groups and preserve the high quality of classical music in the city, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

The Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund will be administered by the Greenacres Foundation — established by the Nipperts in 1988 to convert their Indian Hill homestead into an education center — and initially will award $3 million in general operating support to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, $500,000 to the Cincinnati Opera, and $200,000 to the Cincinnati Ballet. Funding will be provided with the stipulation that the opera and ballet companies keep CSO as their resident orchestra.

In addition, $300,000 will be awarded to other arts programs, including the Cincinnati May Festival, Matinee Musicale, the Linton Chamber Music Series, and Chamber Music Cincinnati. Annual grant recipients will be determined by the foundation's board.

Nippert — whose late husband Louis Nippert was a great-grandson of James A. Gamble, one of the founders of Procter & Gamble — decided to make the gift to help arts groups address the challenges they face as a result of the economic downturn. For example, the orchestra, which has amassed a $3.8 million deficit, implemented a "stabilization plan" at the beginning of the year that included salary cuts, staff layoffs, reducing artistic costs, and the elimination of all recording at its events.

"The reality is we've had a first-tier orchestra and we've had a second-tier capital structure," said CSO president Trey Devey. "So either we needed to retreat artistically and become less than what we are today, or something like this needed to happen. So it's just really an incredible moment in the life [of] this institution."

Janelle Gelfand. "Nippert Gives $85M to Cincinnati's Arts." Cincinnati Enquirer 12/10/2009.