Dick Simmons made the donation — which the PSO describes as "transformational" — as the catalyst for a major endowment campaign, which will be announced at a later date.
There are four parts to the gift: an unrestricted $7.5 million "to address current and future needs so that all other campaign gifts can be forward-looking"; a $5 million challenge grant to raise another $25 million for the PSO's endowment; and $17 million in a legacy gift for the endowment when three consecutive balanced budgets are achieved.
According to the American Symphony Orchestra League, the R.P. Simmons family gift is the fifth largest private-sector donation ever made to a U.S. orchestra.
As an outcome of the upcoming fundraising campaign instigated by the Simmons gift, the PSO hopes to eliminate an operational deficit, increase the size of its endowment while reducing the withdrawal made from it every year for operations, and make improvements to its home, Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts.
Simmons commented in a statement, "The gift is intended to be a strong first step to ensure that the Pittsburgh Symphony remains a world-class orchestra. I hope that others in the community who recognize the importance of this asset will join me to achieve this objective."
Artistic advisor Sir Andrew Davis said, "This gift is testimony to the Pittsburgh Symphony as a world-class orchestra. Any city would envy a similar investment in its orchestra. This is undeniable evidence that the first-rate leadership in Pittsburgh knows what it takes and is willing to pay the price for artistic excellence."