The orchestra's improved financial situation—in 2003-04, the orchestra posted a deficit of $892,000, and it still carries a $19.5 million debt—comes thanks to a number of significant donations. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will give the orchestra $1,350,000 for marketing initiatives over the next three years, and the Victoria Foundation has announced a $100,000 donation to underwrite a new program that provides free tickets to Newark residents.
Both foundations' donations represent a significant increase from last year's funding.
The orchestra's announcement follows last week's news that the New Jersey state government's 2006 budget would contain $1 million in funding for the orchestra's education program for at-risk youth.
Victor Parsonnet, NJSO's board chairman, said, "The mood is up. We're not going to celebrate yet, though. We will now have a musicians' contract to enter into negotiations for and a new year to plan."