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Key symphony fundraising campaign far exceeded goal

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The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra said Thursday that it far exceeded its $5 million goal for a fundraising campaign that helped lock in a long-term contract for the ISO's musicians.

The campaign raised a total of $8.5 million, the organization revealed, thanks to a large number of major gifts.

Terms of an October bridge agreement with the musicians' union required the ISO to raise $5 million from new donors by Feb. 3 in order for the performers to move to their long-term contracts. Meeting the ambitious goal required the ISO to raise almost as much in three months as it typically raises in a year. The deal ended a month-long lockout that delayed the start of the season.

The ISO announced on Sunday that it had met the goal, but didn't provide final fundraising figures.

New donors ended up contributing $5.4 million, while existing donors gave another $3.1 million, the ISO said Thursday.

Major donors to the campaign included:

— Colts owner Jim Irsay, $750,000;

— Pacers owner Herb Simon, $750,000;

— Former Long Electric CEO Yvonne Shaheen, $500,000;

— Marti Ripberger, $500,000;

— Paul Harris Stores co-founder Gerald Paul, wife Dorit Paul and daughter Eloise Paul, $420,000;

— The Care Institute, $250,000;

— ChaCha CEO Scott Jones, $100,000;

— The Buckingham Foundation, $100,000;

— National Wine & Spirits CEO James LaCrosse, $100,000;

— Five anonymous donors, $1.15 million.

The ISO received increased annual contributions, but did not include them in the total, from:

— Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation, $250,000;

— Sarah and John Lechleiter, $125,000;

— Joe and Charlene Barnette, $100,000.

The ISO also will receive $2 million from the Lilly Endowment because it reached its goal before its Feb. 3 deadline. The grant will pay for new seats in Hilbert Circle Theatre and the marketing costs of recruiting new donors for the symphony.

Historically, the group only raises about $6.5 million in a year. The organization launched the 10-week push for $5 million as a way to kick off much more ambitious long-term fundraising strategies as part of sweeping changes to its business model.

ISO executives have cut into the budget—including $11.5 million in concessions from the musicians’ union over the next five years—as a way to cap its draws from its diminishing endowment. The group took more than $11 million from the fund last fiscal year, which was a 13-percent draw—well beyond the typical recommended rate of 5 percent or less.

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  • Missing the Lede
    The real headline should be that the "Symphony Fell $91.5 million short of fundraising goal." in light of their original plan to raise $100M. $750K from billionaires who rake in many times that each year from taxpayers? Pathetic.

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