Atlanta Opera to receive $9 million bequest

Posted on: February 18, 2011

In Friday’s (2/18) Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Howard Pousner reports, “The Atlanta Opera, one of the metro arts groups hardest hit by the struggling economy, is receiving a $9 million bequest from longtime board member Barbara D. Stewart, who died last year, the company announced Thursday. The bequest is believed to be the largest gift in the opera’s history and one of the larger gifts known to a North American opera company. Greg Johnson, chairman of the opera’s board, called the gift ‘transformative’ and said it means the company ‘is here to stay.’ … The 31-year-old company, operating under an annual budget of $5 million, knew that Stewart had left something for it in her will, but it didn’t know the particulars until it received an attorney’s letter Thursday. … Stewart, who beginning in the mid-1990s had served as president, vice president and treasurer of the opera’s board, was the founder of Stewart Economics Inc., a consulting firm that specialized in the insurance business. At Stewart’s request, half the bequest will be used to build the opera’s endowment, raising that fund to $5.6 million.”

Posted February 18, 2011