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Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Announces Two Newly Endowed Chairs

Gifts will add nearly $2.3 Million to RPO’s endowment over four years.

August 31, 2021. Rochester, N.Y. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra today announced the creation of two new endowed chairs. The Fred M. and Lurita Wechsler chair, and The Lisk Morris Foundation, Inc. chair are both funded in perpetuity. 

The Fred M. Wechsler Family Trust has chosen to endow the Associate Concertmaster chair. 

The Lisk Morris Foundation, Inc. has chosen to create a permanent endowment supporting the RPO’s education programs and the position of Director of Education, currently held by Barbara Brown. 

The Lisk Morris Foundation, Inc. is a family foundation formed by the late Drew and Marjorie Morris. The purpose and legacy of Drew and Marjorie is to make grants in support of charitable, scientific and educational nonprofit organizations. Their mission is to make meaningful and measurable positive improvements in the quality of life for communities with a focus on the Finger Lakes Region. 

The purpose and tradition of the Endowed Chair Program is to attract and retain distinguished musicians to the RPO. The program offers the contributor, whether individual or family, foundation or corporation, the opportunity to endow a named chair that reflects their particular interest. Endowed Chairs provide the foundation necessary for the RPO to continue to grow in musical stature and execute their mission of providing the Greater Rochester area and the Finger Lakes region with exceptional, engaging performances to enrich and inspire. This program was established to help assure the long-term financial success of the organization.

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra has been enriching, inspiring, and educating the Greater Rochester community with music since 1922 and the RPO’s endowment has grown exponentially to more than 40% over the past six years. 

“These special endowment donors cared immensely about the RPO and were passionately interested in our mission,” commented Robert Dermody, Vice President of Development. “Gifts to the RPO Endowment act as the connective tissue that will help ensure that future generations of Rochesterians will experience both the traditional aspects of the RPO and also enhance our full range of services to meet the needs of the community.”

“As we enter our 98th season, continuing to grow the endowment is the cornerstone of our coming Centennial Celebration Campaign,” said Dermody. “Through growth of the endowment, your RPO will have the foundation and flexibility to do even more for the Greater Rochester community and be able to fully realize the potential of the orchestra’s next 100 years.”