The Christel DeHaan Foundation, in the process of closing down its operations, is set to distribute its entire remaining resources of $55 million to various local organizations, particularly those in the arts. Among the beneficiaries are the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra (ICO).
As part of this substantial payout, both orchestras are slated to receive a generous gift of $2.75 million each. This amount significantly surpasses the ICO's annual operating budget of $917,000, providing the orchestra with the means to increase its seasonal concert offerings. This, in turn, will offer a considerable financial boost to the musicians, who are compensated on a per-appearance basis.
The ICO plans to allocate the gifted funds to endow their Opening Night Gala and Community Engagement programs. The decision aligns with the Christel DeHaan Foundation's longstanding support for the ISO's opening night, dating back to 2001. Christel DeHaan was a dedicated supporter of the orchestra, regularly attending its concerts.
Dana Stone, executive director of the ICO, expressed, "This gift is a magnificent milestone for our organization and a true capstone of [DeHaan's] philanthropy."
James Johnson, CEO of the ISO, reflected on DeHaan's passion for music and her ardent support for the orchestra. He noted her particular fondness for the ISO's opening night, a tradition she backed since 2001. Johnson stated, "Her longtime support of this evening each year and her advocacy of the orchestra’s work in the community enabled the orchestra to be an arts leader in Indianapolis and central Indiana. We hope to carry on her legacy through this grant."