The Minnesota Orchestra’s annual review on December 2 was a joyous occasion, with Board members, musicians, staff and community members all gathered to celebrate the amazing resilience of a beloved civic institution – and also to hear the challenge for the future. If you weren’t able to be at the meeting, here are links to reports from the Star Tribune and MinnPost, as well as to the annual report.

Board Chair Gordon Sprenger called 2014 a “remarkable year of rebuilding.” A first time Grammy award underscored the orchestra’s artistic excellence, and the post-lockout financial results were also encouraging, with expenses under control, contributions higher than expected, a lower than expected deficit, and a prudent draw from investments. Everyone who spoke at the meeting, including CEO Kevin Smith and the orchestra’s flute and piccolo player, Roma Duncan, highlighted the new sense of trust and collaboration felt throughout the organization.

However, despite the good news, all speakers also emphasized that we can’t become complacent.

“I don’t want anyone to think we have solved all of our financial problems, said Gordon Sprenger. “We have not.” Though less than expected, the orchestra still reported a $650,000 deficit in 2014, a year of partial operations. A larger deficit is projected for the next full year.

The orchestra announced a new community challenge: a special $125,000 Board Challenge Match. Board members have contributed these funds over and above their annual commitments and they are asking orchestra fans to do the same.

During the month of December, all new and increased donations will be matched up to $125,000.

If you have already contributed to the orchestra this year, thank you so much!   Now we’re asking if you could give just a little more – and encourage others to do the same. For more information on the Challenge and to donate online, click here. You can also donate by phone by calling 612-371-5600 or mail your donation to MOA, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403. Gifts in any amount will be gratefully welcomed and will be matched until December 31.

During the lockout, many people remarked, “If I had known the orchestra was in trouble, I would have dug deep.” We hope you will help maintain the orchestra’s amazing upward trajectory with a year-end donation.

At the annual meeting, Gordon Sprenger said, “A great orchestra truly hinges on the generosity of the community … it takes a village to support a great orchestra.” Kevin Smith amended that assertion by saying “It takes a major metropolitan area.” Let’s fill the concert hall, bring new visitors to Orchestra Hall and work to ensure the orchestra’s financial health going forward.

Minnesota Orchestra: Great Momentum, Financial Issues, Board Challenge