A gift of $29.5 million from the R.P. Simmons family (a catalyst for the endowment campaign) was announced earlier this month. There are three parts to that gift: an unrestricted $7.5 million; 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.
Regarding the $80 million campaign, PSO senior vice president of finance and CFO Bill Hart said in a statement, "The average endowment of our peer orchestras is $170 million and ours lags significantly behind at $120 million. With a successful endowment campaign the PSO will be able to achieve a sustainable balanced operating budget and reduce the draw on endowment from 6.5% to 5.25%, which will create an operating reserve of about $5 million by 2015-16."
According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the campaign is the largest effort in PSO's history, a third larger than the $60 million raised during a similar campaign in 1993.