Tulsa Ballet closes one of its most
successful seasons with the announcement that it has achieved its $25 million Defining
the Future Campaign – the largest fundraising initiative in the history of the
The integrated campaign exceeded its
goal by raising a total of $25.2 million, thanks to a $450,000 major gift from
the Lou and Connie Miller Charitable Foundation and trustees Kirk Clausing and
Funds raised from the campaign are
being used to:
- Broaden the reach of the Tulsa Ballet Center
for Dance Education.
- Build and create new productions.
- Increase the Tulsa Ballet endowment to provide
for the long‐term sustainability of the organization.
The campaign, first chaired by Kayla
Vaughn, began in 2015. Billie Barnett assumed the chair role in 2017. Hannah
Robson served as Honorary Chair.
“We are especially grateful for the Lou and Connie Miller Charitable
Foundation’s gift, which has helped us reach the finish line for this
campaign,” says Scott Black, Tulsa Ballet’s Managing Director. “As a World War
II veteran, Lou Miller became an entrepreneur establishing L&M Office Furniture
as a successful Tulsa-owned business and finding continued success through real
estate investments. I am sure that Mr. Miller would be pleased that his legacy of
philanthropy is being carried out by the trustees of his foundation.”
Marcello Angelini, Tulsa Ballet’s
Artistic Director, says, “The Defining the Future Campaign was developed to
substantiate the relevance of dance in our community for decades to come,
through audience growth and education, and the long-term artistic and financial
health of Tulsa Ballet. We are thankful to every individual who contributed to
this campaign, and for their investment in the future of the arts, culture and
quality of life of our community.”
About Defining the Future – An Integrated Campaign for Tulsa Ballet
Completion of Center for Dance Education in Broken Arrow
The Tulsa Ballet Defining the Future Campaign consists of multiple funding
areas, the first being capital funds to build The Hardesty
Center for Dance Education in Broken Arrow, the result of a generous gift of
13.72 acres from the Hardesty Family Foundation and its founders, Roger and
facility, designed by Bob Schaefer of Selser Schaefer Architects, opened in
2016 as part of Tulsa Ballet’s 60th anniversary season to support
the growing needs for ballet training, education and outreach programs.
The school houses
the Ann and Jack Graves Studios and the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation Performance
Studio, a state-of-the-art, in-house theater with a seating capacity of 160.
Additional funding came from the JE and LE Mabee Foundation in the form of a
challenge grant, and the Lou and Connie Miller Charitable Foundation, along
with multiple individuals, corporations and foundations.
Creation of New Productions
Mollie Williford provided the lead gift to support capital funds for new productions, including this past April’s world premiere
of Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music
by resident choreographer Ma Cong and the world premiere of Dorothy and the Prince of Oz by Edwaard
Liang in collaboration with BalletMet of Columbus, Ohio, that debuted in 2016.
capital funds from the HA and Mary K Chapman Charitable Foundations and the Suzanne
and Jim Kneale Family Foundation have been raised to support an all-new
production of The Nutcracker to
premiere in a future season.
Gifts to the
Tulsa Ballet endowment have been established to support essential programs in
have been committed by:
- Bonnie Klein, who
has established the Audience Favorite Endowment Fund, providing support for
productions with mass audience appeal.
- Kathy and Bob West
World Premiere Endowment Fund, providing support for productions that foster
the creation of new works.
- Margery Mayo Bird
Classical Masterpiece Endowment Fund, providing support for productions that
preserve the tradition of classical ballet.
- Judith and Jean Pape
Adams Artistic Excellence Endowment Fund, providing support for Tulsa Ballet’s
commitment to uncompromising artistic quality.
- Sanford and Irene
Burnstein Arts Access Endowment Fund, providing access to ballet performances
for at-risk youth
- Hannah and Joe
Robson Endowment Fund for general support.
Sustaining the level of excellence for annual operations during
the campaign has been critical to Tulsa Ballet’s success. Major campaign gifts
from George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, and
The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation are just a few who have made
increased gifts to support Tulsa Ballet’s annual performances and educational
gifts and donors
Providing a combined $21 million in major gift commitments for Defining the
Future are: The Hardesty Family Foundation; E. Ann Graves; Margery Mayo Bird
Foundation; Rita Willis Trust; George Kaiser Family Foundation; Bonnie Klein; The
Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation; H.A. & Mary K. Chapman Charitable
Foundations; Mollie Williford; The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation; Judith and
Jean Pape Adams Charitable Foundation; Kathy and Bob West; Charles and Lynn
Schusterman Family Foundation; Lou and Connie Miller Charitable Foundation; Suzanne
and Jim Kneale Family Foundation; Janet Selser and Bob Schaefer/Selser Schaefer
Architects; Bobbye Ruth and Dewitt L. Potter; and Hannah and Joe Robson.
Major gift donors pledging a combined $2.4 million in
contributions include: Billie and Howard Barnett and the Barnett Family
Foundation; The Albert and Hete Barthelmes Foundation; SemGroup; Monica
Williford and Steve Bayles; Kayla and Scott Vaughn; Katrine and Ramez Hakim; The
Maurice DeVinna Charitable Trust; The Mervin Bovaird Foundation; Meinig Family
Foundation; Oxley Foundation; Sanford and Irene Burnstein Foundation; Wendy and
Gentner Drummond/Blue Sky Bank; Jill and Robert Thomas; Susan and Bill Thomas; Jo
and Jack Babbitt; KKT Architects; GlobalHealth; David O. Hogan; IBC Bank;
Jackie Kouri and Gary Paxton; Betty and Steve Pirnat; Susan Parrott; Patsy
Savage; Will Smith; Charles and Marion Weber Foundation; and Karen Young.
1956, Tulsa Ballet has evolved from a small regional ballet company to a nationally
and internationally recognized arts organization. For 24 years, the
organization has thrived under the leadership of Artistic Director Marcello
Today, Tulsa Ballet consistently
attracts the finest choreographers in the world, employs around 30 professional
dancers from around the world, 25 full‐time artistic and administrative staff
members and a pre‐professional ensemble composed of 12 American and
international young dancers, all graduates from the top ballet academies of the
This year, Tulsa Ballet fulfilled its
role as an Oklahoma cultural ambassador by representing the city and state in
Italy, Switzerland and Spain on the company’s first three-country tour.
Performing to sold out crowds in six
of the top venues, Tulsa Ballet received standing ovations and was called by
the European press, “without a doubt, within the Top Ten American ballet
companies,” and “one that, for decades continues to enrich the
international landscape of our field” and “a company made up of 30 dancers from
14 countries, dancers who are absolutely extraordinary for their technique and
versatility … Tulsa Ballet’s work was truly exceptional.”
The recently completed season also saw some of the company’s greatest successes to date, including the highest subscription sales ever, the highest selling run of The Nutcracker in the history of Tulsa Ballet, the largest enrollment in the Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education, and the highest grossing special event, Icons & Idols 2019, in the history of Tulsa Ballet.
View the Campaign Celebration book here.