Months after it settled a contract dispute between management and players that led to a sixteen-month lockout, the Minnesota Orchestra has announced four gifts totaling $13.2 million from donors who wish to remain anonymous.
The gifts include a $10 million leadership gift, the majority of which will be added to the orchestra's endowment to help secure the organization's future. According to the donors' wishes, a portion of the gift also will be used to underwrite artistic initiatives starting with the 2014-15 season. Designed to inspire other donors, the gift already has inspired additional anonymous gifts totaling $3.2 million, including a $1.2 million gift in support of the orchestra's 2014-15 season and Building for the Future Endowment campaign; a $1 million endowment gift; and a $1 million gift for a yet-to-be-designated purpose.
At the beginning of the year, the orchestra's board and musicians ratified a new three-year contract, ending a lockout that had resulted in music director Osmo Vänskä's resignation and a $1 million budget deficit for the 2013 fiscal year — a year in which the orchestra performed no concerts. With Vänskä back, the orchestra concluded its 2014 season in July with its annual Sommerfest concerts, paid attendance for which averaged 86 percent of capacity. A grassroots CommUNITY Challenge in July also raised nearly $290,000 for the organization's 2014 Guaranty Fund.
"The community has shown strong interest in the Minnesota Orchestra, and we are working to transfer that passion into participation," said Kevin Smith, the orchestra’s incoming interim president and CEO. "Receiving a wonderful response from audiences and donors, including these remarkable gifts, is cause for optimism."