Symphony reports record shortfall of $2.8 million

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Symphony Society reported at Monday's annual board of directors meeting a record $2.8 million shortfall for the 2009 fiscal year.

The society, the parent organization of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, ended fiscal 2009 on Aug. 31, with $28.3 million in expenses and $25.5 million in revenue.

Symphony CEO Simon Crookall said he's expecting a smaller but still significant gap of $1.3 million in the 2010 budget year.

"What we know is that it will take us several years to get out of the deficit we've had," Crookall said Monday. "Obviously you can't suddenly increase your income by $3 million. It just isn't possible."

The ISO ended the 2008 fiscal year in the red as well, but the $293,000 deficit, on revenue of $28.2 million, was minor compared with the past year.

All revenue sources shrank in the 2009 fiscal year, the society said. Ticket sales were down, especially in late 2008. Annual giving and major gifts declined. A third, major source of cash, the ISO Foundation, suffered millions in investment losses. The foundation was worth $85 million on Aug. 31, down 22.7 percent from $110 million the prior year.

The foundation, which has a separate board of trustees, is trying to protect its endowment, and so has pared back its grants to the ISO. Last year, the foundation granted $9.78 million to the symphony, down from $10.6 million in 2008.

Even at a reduced dollar amount, the ISO's draw on the endowment represented 8.8 percent of a 36-quarter rolling average. In the current fiscal year, the foundation will give the ISO $8.1 million, or 8 percent, of its average value.

Crookall cut costs throughout the latest fiscal year, saving $1.3 million. Without those cuts, the ISO's deficit would have been even larger. Expenses are forecast to fall further in 2010, mainly thanks to pay concessions by the union-represented musicians and administrative-side salary cuts. The current budget calls for $26 million in expenses and $24.7 million in income.

Ticket sales have rebounded in the first six weeks of the fall classical series, Crookall said. ISO leaders are still projecting lower income in 2010 because they're no longer counting on large, one-time grants, which amounted to $2 million or more in past years.

Crookall said the ISO is beginning a new era of realistic budgeting that doesn't rely on large one-time gifts and extra grants from the endowment.

The board of directors will be calling on donors to help beef up the endowment by $100 million. "We need everyone to realize we can't sell enough tickets to keep this organization going," Crookall said.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

  2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

  3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

  4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

  5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....