The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation has awarded a grant of $50 million to The Cleveland Orchestra. The gift, one of the most significant ever made to a major symphony orchestra, is the largest gift in the Orchestra’s 103-year history and the largest grant in the Mandel Foundation’s 68-year history. On September 30, 2021, André Gremillet, the Orchestra’s President & CEO, announced the grant to the musicians and staff during a rehearsal. This grant will greatly strengthen the finances of the institution while increasing its impact in the local and global community.
The largest portion of the grant—$31.5 million—is being dedicated to endowment funds, bolstering the Orchestra’s financial foundation and supporting the creation of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Opera and Humanities Festival. André Gremillet said, “This unprecedented gift lays the groundwork for The Cleveland Orchestra’s second century, supporting our long-term capacity to offer extraordinary musical performances and inspiring programs while transforming our ability to reach audiences far beyond the physical limits of our building. Like the Orchestra, the Mandel Foundation combines a global outlook with a deep commitment to the Cleveland community. We will forever be grateful to the Foundation for its extraordinary generosity.”
Other funds will go toward supporting and expanding the Orchestra’s programs and partnerships. By investing in digital infrastructure, the grant will provide an unprecedented opportunity for The Cleveland Orchestra to expand access across the globe and provide audiences with increased program and content choices through the Orchestra’s streaming platform, “Adella.” “As the Orchestra prepares to embark on its 104th season, we are moved and inspired by this remarkable recognition of our work,” said Franz Welser-Möst, Music Director. “The musicians and audiences will feel the benefits of the Mandel Foundation’s gift almost immediately, starting with the upgrades to the building which will allow us to continue capturing video for our digital offerings.”
Dr. Jehuda Reinharz, President and CEO of the Mandel Foundation, and Stephen H. Hoffman, Chairman, said, “The Foundation has made this grant because of the Mandel brothers’ deep commitment to the vitality of Cleveland and a belief in the value of the humanities to shape an enriched spirit of life. The world-class level of music of The Cleveland Orchestra is the embodiment of both, and with this gift we hope to help ensure that it will be available for generations to come.” In recognition of the magnitude and long-term impact of the gift, the Orchestra is naming its main performance space the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Concert Hall. The name of the Orchestra’s building will change from Severance Hall to Severance Music Center. This expanded designation will continue to honor the foundational importance of John L. Severance’s leadership as integral to the Orchestra’s legacy while signaling that the Music Center encompasses both Mandel Concert Hall and Reinberger Chamber Hall and serves as a musical gathering place for the entire community.
Richard K. Smucker, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “Coming after the challenges of the past year and a half, this outstanding gift from the Mandel Foundation enables us to step forward with renewed confidence in our ongoing drive to strengthen the financial foundation of The Cleveland Orchestra. We hope and trust that many other donors, large and small, will be encouraged in their giving by this model of philanthropy.”
*Image from September 2019, © Roger Mastroianni, Courtesy of The Cleveland Orchestra.