The Edward D. and Ione Auer Foundation plans to donate $1 million to the Fort Wayne Ballet to create a first-ever endowment for the 57-year-old dance organization, the foundation announced Saturday.
Were just very grateful. Its terribly exciting for us, said Karen Gibbons-Brown, the ballets artistic and executive director. It is a dream come true.
Gibbons-Brown said the ballet, which has an annual budget of $1.15 million, has never had an endowment.
Creating one will help the organization enhance its professional dance troupe, its scholarship program for young dancers and its repertory of performances of 20th-century works, she said.
Its crucial to our continuation of the organization and being viable and relevant, she said of the endowment.
This year, the ballet began a quiet campaign to raise money for an endowment, with a goal of $1 million. And in response, the Auer Foundation made its sizable gift, Gibbons-Brown said.
In a statement, the Auer Foundation said its strong stock market returns prompted it to make the $1 million donation.
Like other endowments, the plan for this one is to invest it and allow it to accrue interest, while leaving the principal intact, Gibbons-Brown said.
The ballet will still have to raise funds.
The endowment is that piece that we dont touch, she said. Our budget is separate from the endowment piece.
The endowment will be named in honor of Gibbons-Brown, whos in her 16th season. The ballet opened its 58th season Saturday night.