Restrictions added to Philadelphia Orchestra’s Annenberg grant

Posted on: May 30, 2012

In Wednesday’s (5/30) Philadelphia Inquirer, Peter Dobrin writes, “To a greater degree than before, the Annenberg Foundation is requiring accountability from the Philadelphia Orchestra in exchange for the $50 million gift the foundation made in 2003. That grant was the largest in the orchestra’s history. But even after it was paid out, its use and destiny were never entirely left to the orchestra. The foundation reserved the right to recall the gift and any accumulated investment income if the orchestra ever filed for bankruptcy. Although the philanthropy, now based in Los Angeles, did not exercise that right when the orchestra filed for Chapter 11 in April 2011, a new and more controlling donor agreement has been crafted as part of the reorganization plan filed last week by the orchestra in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. All of the money, in fact, will be removed from the orchestra’s endowment and placed in trust, held by the Northern Trust company for the benefit of the orchestra. … Orchestra president Allison B. Vulgamore says some of the ideas were taken from the orchestra’s strategic plan, and others came from Annenberg. … ‘While it has some additional benchmarks and milestones, they were related to our plan; it came from us. They are fundamentally investing in the quality of this organization,’ Vulgamore said. … ‘This was a little like a family sitting down and saying: “How do we want to hold our assets? Let’s be smart about this.” ’ ”

Posted May 30, 2012