The Campaign was initiated in 2006, Lyric director of communications Susan Mathieson Mayer told Playbill Arts, because two of the company's major funding sources are soon to expire: the Arthur Rubloff Residuary Trust and the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge III grant. "So the board felt strongly that we needed to establish another working capital reserve fund."
And what exactly is a working capital reserve fund? It is not necessarily like an endowment, which provides interest income for operations while the principal remains untouched, explained Mayer. "It could be permanent ... [or] it would, or could, be drawn down gradually over many, many years. The idea is that, if there is something for which we need extra money, we could draw funds for that purpose. The intention is that the money be used over a long period of time if, and as, needed."
Company president and CEO Richard P. Kiphart, who spearheaded the Campaign, explained in a statement, "Monies can be used for special projects and situations that our annual fundraising efforts are unable to cover. Radio sponsorship is an example of the kind of project that would be considered."
Kiphart said that "More than 97% of the cash, pledges, and planned gifts raised for the Campaign for Excellence came from Lyric's board of directors. I am absolutely thrilled that the Lyric family has once again stepped up to the plate, recognizing that a fund such as this is necessary for the company's long-term financial stability." The lead gift of $10 million came from Lyric board member Nancy W. Knowles, and the majority of gifts to the Campaign were over $100,000, according to Mayer.
Lyric Opera's 2007-08 season opens on September 29 with Verdi's La traviata, starring Elizabeth Futral, Joseph Calleja and Mark Delavan and conducted by the company's artistic director emeritus, Bruno Bartoletti. More information is available at www.lyricopera.org.