The orchestra launched a campaign to raise $20 million to fund salaries in July 2004. The campaign is part of a larger effort to boost the SLSO's endowment, which was just $22 million in 2000. The endowment now stands at $112 million; other major orchestras have endowments ranging from $150 million to $280 million.
Recent donations include $1 million each from the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Harding Foundation.
"Once again I'm encouraged by the response from the St. Louis community, which has stepped forward to contribute to the special endowment goal to benefit our musicians' compensation," said Randy Adams, president and executive director of the SLSO. "The recent labor agreement with our musicians would not have been achieved without the donors' support, for which I am truly grateful. This is one more step toward bringing our endowment closer to that of other peer orchestras."
When musicians went on strike in January, SLSO management insisted the orchestra could not afford to give musicians a raise above the $73,900 minimum salary they had previously made. The contract signed in March, however, included a series of raises bringing the minimum salary to $76,000 in 2007-08.