The New York Philharmonic has announced a gift of $25 million from board chair Oscar Straus Schafer and his wife, Didi Fenton Schafer.
The largest gift from an individual donor in the philharmonic's history includes $20 million for its endowment and renovation project and $5 million in continued support for the free Concerts in the Parks series. The gift was announced on the opening night of the philharmonic's one hundred and seventy-fourth season — its first performance in David Geffen Hall, newly renamed in recognition of a $100 million gift toward the $500 million renovation of what had been Avery Fisher Hall. The philharmonic is working to raise its share of the renovation costs — estimated at $160 million — and another $200 million to double its endowment and the reserves it needs to raise each year to cover operating expenses. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts will help shoulder the remaining costs.
"The New York Philharmonic is both a signature of this great city and a national treasure," said the Schafers in a statement. "We are thrilled to help secure the future of this most important cultural organization and what it does for the New York City community, including the Concerts in the Parks, which we have proudly been supporting since 2007. Strengthening our endowment will ensure that the Philharmonic is able to fulfill its mission long into an exciting future, as we create a world-class twenty-first-century concert hall to be home to our world-class orchestra."