A Cherished Relationship
By Ralph Taylor, CSO Donor and Schippers Member
My late wife, Brenda, and I became CSO subscribers around 1983 after attending various concerts with longtime friends. After more than a decade of regular concert attendance and deepening appreciation of the music and of the CSO, we began to consider how to help support this magnificent organization. When we revised our estate plan in the 1990s, we added a gift to the CSO. At some point (I do not recall the exact year), we marked the appropriate space when making our Annual Fund gift and thus became members of the Thomas Schippers Legacy Society.
A few years later, we began considering how we might go about making a more substantial contribution and, after noting the endowed chairs in the program listing, began to discuss idly what that might entail and whether we could join the list of endowers. Having no idea of the endowment requirements, we didn't immediately act. The idea of endowing a chair or some other gift remained in our minds for a few years, and not knowing how to initiate discussions, we continued as subscribers and followers of the CSO.
We were at one of the events in 2004, probably a Symphony Circle reception, and happened to meet the director of philanthropy. During the discussion I asked what endowing a chair entailed. This led to further discussion and eventually a meeting with a representative of the philanthropy department.
I should mention that we were a couple of relatively modest means with one son just out of college. We had a comfortable amount of savings for emergencies and eventual retirement, but no more. As we explored the possibilities, we settled on a split gift of an immediate gift and specific designated amount to complete the endowment stipulated in our estate trust and wills. This allowed us to make a more extensive gift than would have been otherwise possible for us at the time.
When the details were worked out, the endowment of the second violin chair occupied by Stacey Woolley was announced, and we became a part of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra family of supporters. During the subsequent years, we were both very happy to have a closer relationship with the CSO and were made to feel much more a part of the CSO. When Brenda became ill and was confined to a wheelchair, we still attended many concerts and events, always being welcomed.
It has been a pleasure to be associated with the CSO more closely, and I am grateful to the organization for making it possible to contribute in the manner we did so that we could have the closer relationship with the CSO. Making this commitment while we were able to enjoy the relationship was a great decision, one that Brenda enjoyed very much and that I continue to cherish.
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