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$40M windfall – Deficit has grown

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The financially troubled St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has received a $40 million challenge grant from the Taylor family, which owns Enterprise Rent-a-Car, the Washington Post reported Dec. 6.

The grant is the largest single gift ever to an American symphony.

Highly respected and considered one of the best orchestras in the U.S., the St. Louis Symphony was also among the most under-funded.

The symphony has accumulated a deficit of $7 million.

In 1989, city of St. Louis voters chose no to include the symphony in a tax district that supports the city’s art museum and zoo.

The symphony responded with a decade of aggressive fundraising, but the lack of a substantial endowment — the orchestra has only $22 million in its coffers— has hampered its long-term success.

The gift includes an immediate $5 million for operating expenses and another $35 million for endowment – but both sums are challenge grants and must be matched by other contributions. If the symphony can meet the challenge, its endowment will approach the $100 million mark.

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