October 22, 2014
   
Handel and Haydn Society Gets Two Endowment Gifts of $1M

December 13, 2012 — The Handel and Haydn Society, a Boston choral group with annual revenue of less than $4 million, yesterday announced it has received two gifts of $1 million each to endow its chorus and educational outreach programs, gifts that are usually associated with much larger cultural institutions.

The gifts are the largest in the 198-year history of the Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) and come as the organization approaches its bicentennial in 2015 and prepares for the early stages of a campaign to fund new strategic initiatives and endowment.

A gift of $1 million from Jane and Wat Tyler will fund the Handel and Haydn Society Chorus, while the second gift of $1 million from Karen Levy will support the Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program.

“We are extremely grateful to Karen and Wat for these leadership gifts, which are tremendously important as we implement an ambitious strategic plan to connect more deeply with our community,“ said Marie-Hélène Bernard, executive director and CEO. “It is wonderfully rewarding to have H&H associated with such fine board members and philanthropic minds who believe in the long-term potential of our programs.”

Wat Tyler said he gave the gift to help start a campaign to boost the company’s endowment, observing, ““The timing was correct. Five years ago, I don’t think they were there,” according to a report in The Boston Globe.

The paper also reported that “Levy said she and her husband, George, who died in October, had talked about making a substantial gift after years of supporting the organization’s educational programs.”

H&H Artistic Director Harry Christophers said, “With these unprecedented gifts the Handel and Haydn Society is poised to enter a new phase in its history. We are lucky to have such dedicated supporters who can ensure our organization will remain strong for another 200 years and beyond.”

According to its latest federal tax filing, H&H had revenues of $3.79 million in the year that ended June 30, 2011, of while $1.47 million was in the form of grants and contributions.

Wat Tyler is a vice chair of the Handel and Haydn Society board of governors, where he has served for 15 years. He will be honored at this year’s Society Ball, H&H’s annual gala fundraiser, on March 23 at the Mandarin Oriental Boston.

Levy is a vice chair of the Handel and Haydn Society board of governors, where she has served since 1994. As chair of its education committee, Levy was instrumental in developing H&H’s educational outreach efforts. The Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2010.

Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is considered the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States. Its mission is to enrich life and influence culture by performing Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence, and by providing engaging, accessible, and broadly inclusive music education and training activities.

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