Arts & Entertainment, etc. and Corporate Philanthropy and Arts Funding and Music and Arts/Culture and Philanthropy

Chase foundation decides to stop funding violin competition

March 23, 2009
Screech. Worse than busting a string mid-performance, the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis lost a major corporate gift less than two years from curtain time.

The world-renowned instrumental throw-down is looking to replace more than $25,000 in corporate support from the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation.

The competition, a $4 million event, is held every four years. The next wave of aspiring maestros is scheduled to hit Indy in September 2010.

"Chase has been a major corporate supporter for many years, going all the way back to 1982 with Indiana National Bank," Executive Director Glen Kwok said. The competition was founded in 1982 by concert violinist and Indiana University faculty member Josef Gingold.

In recent years, the New York-based Chase foundation has refocused its giving on economic and community development.

"It's actually been going down that road for, I would say, five to eight years, but even more so the last two years," spokeswoman Nancy Norris said.

Last year in Indiana, Chase doled out $2 million. Norris said the amount given last year didn't decrease, but the number of grants has shrunk from about 500 to about 100.

Kwok said Chase's gift was much larger than its $25,000 amount suggests. The organization had only about a half dozen corporate supporters, he said. "That's why it's very significant for us."

While courting individual donors, Kwok is also making contingency plans. He said it's difficult to scale back a quadrennial event, especially one that has set the standard worldwide.

"Many, many competitions in the world have used 'The Indianapolis' as a model," he said.
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