SOURCE: San Francisco Symphony Keeping Score

September 14, 2005 11:38 ET

San Francisco Symphony's Keeping Score Project Reaches Funding Milestone With Matching Funds From Haas, Jr. Fund Challenge Grant

The James Irvine Foundation Tops the List of Additional Organizations and Individuals Showing Support for Innovative, Audience-Building Endeavor

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 14, 2005 -- The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) today announced it has reached a milestone fundraising goal for its national multimedia project Keeping Score, after receiving the first $5 million of a $10 million challenge grant from the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Total funding for the $23 million, five-year project that encompasses television, radio, the Internet and an educational classroom component has now reached $9.75 million. The Haas, Jr. Fund challenge grant is intended to inspire further contributions from community philanthropists, national agencies, and foundations by matching donations toward Keeping Score.

"We hope our enthusiasm for helping the Symphony extend its reach beyond the symphony hall continues to be contagious," said Ira Hirschfield, president of the Haas, Jr. Fund. "This ambitious Keeping Score program allows new audiences to experience classical music. It has great potential to enrich communities that may not have direct access to the genius of Michael Tilson Thomas and the orchestra's creative and talented musicians."

The James Irvine Foundation has stepped up to meet the challenge raised by the Haas, Jr. Fund by funding a significant part of Keeping Score with a $1.65 million grant for education and community outreach programs in California. The Keeping Score education program begins with a pilot for grades K-12 in Fresno during the 2005-06 school year. Keeping Score's educational goal is to enhance education by teaching through music for diverse audiences of schoolchildren. The SFS plans to expand the education program regionally and nationally in the next five years, reaching as many as 500 teachers and more than 75,000 students who otherwise would not have been exposed to classical music and the arts as part of their daily learning.

"We view this grant as a unique opportunity to support a pioneering effort that will promote appreciation of classical music among young people in California," said James E. Canales, President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine Foundation. "Keeping Score is an unprecedented and visionary project, and we are pleased to fund this ambitious effort to extend the reach of one of California's leading arts institutions and help expand the public's interest in classical music. The educational opportunities offered by Keeping Score are truly extraordinary."

In addition to The James Irvine Foundation and other organizations, many individual donors and national agencies are helping to meet the first phase of the Haas, Jr. Fund challenge grant such as Marcia and John Goldman, Nan Tucker McEvoy, William and Gretchen Kimball Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts and others.

The SFS introduced Keeping Score on national television in June 2004 as part of a national initiative aimed at providing audiences with a connection to classical music and the powerful emotions it conveys. This round of funding covers the Keeping Score television series to air in 2006, a 13-program companion radio series, web site keepingscore.org, as well as an extensive educational component designed to provide students in California and across the country with a broader understanding and access to classical music. With funding for the arts at an all-time low, Keeping Score provides a much-needed service, an example of how the SFS helps audiences connect with music's timeless legacy.

To be a part of the Haas, Jr. Challenge and bring music to new audiences, please call 415.503.5456.

For further information about Keeping Score, visit www.sfsymphony.org or www.keepingscore.org.

Major funding for Keeping Score is provided by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, with generous support from The James Irvine Foundation, Marcia and John Goldman, Nan Tucker McEvoy, William and Gretchen Kimball Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and others.

Press contacts:

Jennifer Parson, Landis Communications Inc., (415) 561-0888 x2301, jennifer@landispr.com

Diane Olberg, The James Irvine Foundation, (415) 777-2244, dolberg@irvine.org

Jennie Watson, The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, (415) 856-1400, jennie@haasjr.org

Robert Bray, The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, (415) 856-1400, robert@haasjr.org

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY

Founded in 1911, the San Francisco Symphony has a long and distinguished history marked by artistic excellence, educational initiatives, international tours, acclaimed recordings and innovative programming. Now in their tenth season together, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the SFS have formed a musical partnership hailed for its revitalization of the classical music experience. The first orchestra to feature national symphonic radio broadcasts in 1926, the SFS remains a leader in the field of electronic media with endeavors such as the Grammy Award-winning Mahler recording cycle for the Orchestra's own SFS Media label, Minnesota Public Radio's Peabody Award-winning "American Mavericks" radio series and website, inspired by and produced in association with MTT and the SFS, and the Emmy Award-winning PBS/KQED Public Television production of the SFS's "Sweeney Todd in Concert." In 2004, the SFS launched "Keeping Score: MTT on Music," a groundbreaking project aimed at providing audiences of today with a connection to classical music and the powerful emotions it conveys. The initiative launched with a PBS telecast on June 16 and includes a website, educational outreach, a radio series and a continuing television series. The Orchestra's commitment to education and the community, begun in 1919 with the development of "Concerts for Kids," is today recognized nationally and internationally for programs including "Adventures in Music," the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, "Music for Families," and www.sfskids.com. For additional information, visit www.sfsymphony.org.

ABOUT THE EVELYN & WALTER HAAS, JR. FUND

Founded in 1953, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund is a private family foundation that has awarded over $223 million in grants since its inception. The Fund's work is rooted in its founders' vision of a just and caring society where all people are able to live, work and raise their families with dignity. The Haas, Jr. family's love and deep appreciation for the vitality and beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area and its diverse people and cultures inspire its work locally and beyond. Guided by the values of fairness, equality and opportunity, the Fund's grantmaking focuses on: ensuring every member of our community has access to and benefits from the Bay Area's extraordinary cultural and civic assets; improving the lives of low-income families and children, and revitalizing the neighborhoods where they live; promoting equal rights and opportunity, with emphasis on immigrants and gay and lesbian people; and investing in the leadership of its nonprofit partners. For additional information, visit www.haasjr.org.

ABOUT THE JAMES IRVINE FOUNDATION

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation, dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful, and inclusive society. The Foundation was established in 1937 by James Irvine, a native Californian who devoted most of his life to business interests in San Francisco and the development of his 110,000-acre ranch in Southern California, which was among the largest privately owned land holdings in the state. Since 1937, the Foundation has provided approximately $850 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout California. With current assets of more than $1.5 billion, the Foundation expects to make grants of $61 million in 2005 for the people of California.

For additional information, visit www.irvine.org.

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