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Lilly Endowment pledges $2M if ISO can hit $5M goal

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Lilly Endowment has pledged $2 million to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on the condition the performing arts group reaches an important $5 million fundraising goal by Feb. 3, the ISO announced Thursday morning.

If the ISO does not raise $5 million by the deadline, a collective bargaining agreement between the group's governing body and the musicians union will dissolve, and negotiators will have to return to the bargaining table.

Significant gifts from Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay, Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon and ISO board member Yvonne Shaheen have made up the bulk of the $2.35 million the organization has raised.

Lilly Endowment’s grant, which stacks onto more than $1.2 million it gives to the ISO annually, would cover two efforts: $1 million to ramp up outreach to new donors and $1 million to help upgrade seating in Hilbert Circle Theatre.

The ISO reported a $900,000 deficit for its past fiscal year after drawing $11.4 million from its endowment to help cover a $27 million operating budget.

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