Just as every note counts in a classical composition, every dollar helps to support a cultural institution like the Kansas City Symphony.
That was a key message Wednesday as symphony officials announced the final and public phase of a campaign to strengthen its endowment to the tune of $55 million. That, they said, will assure the symphony’s continued success for years to come.
“Our commitment to and our contribution to the cultural life of Kansas City puts us in the very highest tier of local arts organizations,” said Bill Lyons, chairman of the symphony board. “As we continue to raise the symphony’s artistic stature, we also raise our city’s national profile.”
Over the last four years, the symphony has raised $51.9 million of its goal from longtime supporters and arts patrons. It also has a challenge grant of $1.25 million if the public will close the gap of nearly $2 million.
Symphony officials announced the public phase of the Masterpiece campaign in its performance home at Helzberg Hall of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, where about 100 people gathered on stage and were treated to an excerpt from a Mendelssohn string quartet.
Ticket revenue covers less than 40 percent of the symphony’s operating costs. It lags behind peer orchestras in the size of its budget and endowment, despite the fact that it reaches more than 1 million people annually through concerts, community events, education programs and broadcasts.
The more robust endowment will allow the symphony to pay more in salaries to attract and retain the best musicians.
“The greater percentage of this cost we can cover through investment earnings from a large endowment, the more sustainable and predictable our long-term finances will be,” Lyons said.
The current labor-management agreement runs through June 2021.
The larger endowment will also allow the symphony to continue to offer free or low-cost musical programs.
For more information or to make a donation, go to the symphony’s website.