Music Center Foundation | The Music Center Foundation - The Impact of Giving
Giving through the Music Center Foundation is an investment in the future leaders who will help shape our city’s legacy in the performing arts.
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The Impact of Giving

Giving through the Music Center Foundation is an investment in the future leaders who will help shape our city’s legacy in the performing arts.

The Music Center’s educational programs and community outreach is often the first touchpoint and inspiration for children interested in the arts.

Programs like Spotlight encourage high school students across Southern California to find their voice through artistic growth. This year’s Grand Finale takes place on June 5th and students of all talent levels are able to apply.

Community outreach is another pillar of our work. Each year, school assemblies reach thousands of young students and teachers, giving them access to learning through the arts.

Spotlight 2

Donor Stories

Carrie & Stuart Ketchum

Carrie and Stuart Ketchum have been involved with the Music Center from the early days. Their paths began separately but converged after they were married in 1985. They have supported the Music Center and the Los Angeles Philharmonic both individually in volunteer leadership and together as major philanthropic supporters. They have made significant commitments of over $1.7 MM through the Music Center Foundation to establish endowments to provide enduring support for both organizations and several programs on campus.

As a young man, Stuart set out to build a career as a real estate developer in Los Angeles. In fact he built a large number of buildings in the Wilshire corridor, now called Koreatown. He became involved at the Music Center from the very beginning as he was recruited by Dorothy “Buff” Chandler to oversee the original construction of the project. This included the Performing Arts Hall which became the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, as well as the Ahmanson Theater, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Plaza. Stuart has reflected that this was an interesting time in Los Angeles to try to build a performing arts center, because the mood of the city was not behind that project. The community was interested in sports and business projects, not in developing cultural institutions. Nonetheless, as we know, Mrs. Chandler prevailed.

Carrie started attending the LA Philharmonic in the 1960’s, which was Zubin Mehta’s time. Her very close friends were Missy and Otis Chandler, son and daughter-in-law of Dorothy Chandler. Otis Chandler transformed the LA Times from a regional newspaper to a global news organization with bureaus around the world; bringing the newspaper to similarity with the New York Times and Washington Post. Carrie served on the Board of Directors of the Otis Art Institute which was created by Harrison Grey Otis, the founder of the LA Times and patriarch of the family that descended to the Chandlers. Carrie’s interest in art emanated from her studies in Art History at UCLA along with her interest in visual arts. Carrie had a major career in advertising in New York and London, working with companies like Volkswagen, Alka-Seltzer, Kodak, and Hallmark. She won 13 CLIO’s and was a judge on the international CLIO awards. During her time away from Los Angeles, she enjoyed the New York and London Philharmonic. When she married Stuart in 1985, Missy Chandler and Nancy Call (widow of Ted Call, Asa Call’s son) hosted a black tie dinner dance at the Los Angeles CC to celebrate their friend Carrie and her new husband.

Stuart’s path to the Music Center was through community involvement. He was educated at USC and served in the US Navy on a destroyer in the South Pacific. At first, he did not attend many of the performances at the Music Center, as he claimed to be more of a hammer and nail man. When he and Carrie met, together they began to enjoy performances that Carrie already loved at the Music Center, particularly the Los Angeles Philharmonic. They both became very involved and active with the Music Center, enjoying the performances and participating in volunteer leadership. They watched proudly as the Los Angeles Philharmonic developed into the most prestigious orchestra in the United States and one of the best in the world. Carrie also served on the Blue Ribbon Board several times and has continued to support Blue Ribbon and their Children’s Festival. They have included a $500,000 endowment in their estate plan to support the Children’s Festival. Stuart became a member of the Music Center Board when the construction started on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the early 1960’s.

Stuart did such a good job of volunteer leadership on the original project that he was retained again to oversee the Walt Disney Concert Hall project. This project started in the mid 1980’s and took 17 years to finally complete. Spending two days a week for many years on the project, Stuart remembers a meeting when the planning was just beginning at Mrs. Disney’s home where she said that she wanted a concert hall named for her late husband, Walt Disney. He worked closely with Lilian Disney as well as Frank Gehry and the construction team. The Walt Disney Concert Hall has become a world icon, which is a long way from the less cultural mood of the city before 1960. In their home they have a framed copy of the original drawing by Frank Gehry of Disney Hall, as well as several other mementos of the hall and the grand opening. Stuart was named President of Walt Disney Concert Hall for the construction project.

Peter Mullin enlisted Stuart to join the Music Center Foundation Board in 1991 to help form a new leadership team for that organization. Stuart served on the MCF Board for 17 years (as long as it took to complete the Disney Hall project) and as an officer for more than 15 years. He is part of the leadership team that brought the Foundation from $30 MM to over $300 MM in assets. In addition to his work with the Foundation, he continues to be very active with the Music Center. Stuart recruited Andrea Van de Kamp to become the Chair of the Music Center Board during a difficult transition time for that organization.

Carrie and Stuart have not only given a great deal of their time to the Music Center, but they have been major donors. They have provided significant current support to Music Center Dance and Blue Ribbon, as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic. They have endowed the piano chair at the Hollywood Bowl, and they have been subscribers at the Music Center for many years.

The Ketchum’s were early endowment supporters of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Music Center with substantial pledges in the 1990’s through the Music Center Foundation. When they made their pledges, they took advantage of the opportunity to maintain some flexibility with the ultimate beneficiary of their endowments. They made Donor Advised pledges (meaning they could designate the beneficiary of their endowments at a later date), and when the Los Angeles Philharmonic announced its endowment campaign as part of the 100th Anniversary, Carrie and Stuart were moved to commit $1.2 MM of their endowment pledge to support the Los Angeles Philharmonic. They have also made commitments to support the Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival and Glorya Kaufman presents Dance at the Music Center.

Their legacy of support will provide well over $2 MM which includes the significant current gifts they have made to the Music Center and the Resident Companies over the many years of which they have been so actively involved. Bravo Carrie and Stuart!

Donor Stories

Diane Morton

When Diane Morton began considering her legacy, she looked to the Music Center Foundation (MCF) for advice. She reached out to her friend, Peter Mullin, who at the time was the Chairman of the Music Center Foundation, to discuss opportunities. The appeal of the MCF was that it is not political and it is solely focused on providing endowment support for the Music Center and Resident Companies. The Music Center is also very efficient and effective with low administrative expenses, strong investment performance, and excellent planned giving support.

Diane Morton was born and raised in Spring Valley, NY, a small village near Poughkeepsie. As a teenager, she would travel the 25 miles to New York City by train and bus to see Broadway shows, music concerts, and visit the museums. This is where her love and appreciation of the arts began. Diane remembers seeing legends such as Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, and Glen Miller.
When she graduated from high school, she headed west to UCLA where she studied education. Diane became a teacher in the LA schools after graduation. A few years later she taught reading disabled students in a private school in Los Angeles. She also met her first husband at UCLA, who was a theater art’s major. This solidified her love of theater along with the appreciation of music.

In the 1980’s Diane became more involved with the Music Center. She joined Club 100 and the Blue Ribbon. She has particularly enjoyed the Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival over the years. This annual event brings fifth grade students from all over Los Angeles to the Music Center for three days to get exposure to the performing arts. Diane is especially happy about the students that would otherwise not have the opportunity to see a performance at the Music Center. Diane proudly served as the Chair of the Festival in 1993.

Sadly, Diane’s first husband passed away at a young age. After several years, she married Leon Morton. Mr. Morton had a love for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and this enhanced her appreciation for symphonic music. They were dedicated subscribers to the LA Philharmonic and Center Theatre Group. Diane and Leon were also good friends of Walter Grauman and his wife Peggy Parker Grauman. Walter was the founder of the Spotlight Program at the Music Center. Diane became a supporter of this fantastic program which empowers students by emphasizing preparation, courage, critical thinking and perseverance while providing an invaluable opportunity for students to hone their performance skills.

Diane joined the Center Theatre Group (CTG) Board of Directors in 1994 and continues to serve as an emeritus member. She appreciates CTG’s support of the community and young audiences with programs like Young Audience Performances and the August Wilson Monologue Competition. While Diane has continued to make current gifts to support Blue Ribbon, the Music Center, and Resident Companies, she and Leon started considering leaving a legacy in the late 1990’s. They wanted to create endowments for the organizations they love. Diane and Leon made their first bequest commitments with Estate Notes in 1997. In the past several years, Diane has significantly her increased her bequest pledges with gifts designated to all the Resident Companies, Blue Ribbon, Dance, and Spotlight. She is particularly supportive of CTG and the Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival.

Diane feels fortunate that she has no children that need support from her estate and she has reached a time in her life when she does not need to buy new stuff. She is accumulating wealth for her legacy to her two loves, the Music Center and the Jewish Home. Bravo Diane!

Susan and Peter van Haften

Susan and Peter van Haften have been in love with theater for a long time. They were subscribers with Center Theatre Group (CTG) from the beginning in the mid-1960s. Hello Dolly was a fond memory of a show they saw in the early years.

When they decided to consider a legacy gift to support CTG, they reached out to the Music Center Foundation for guidance. Susan and Peter found the assistance they received from the Foundation very helpful in crafting their estate plan and achieving their philanthropic goals.

Susan and Peter came to Southern California from different parts of Michigan in the early 1960’s. Susan first moved to Washington, DC first to work for the Bureau of Ships, Nuclear Division. They met in Los Angeles, while working for the same company. Susan went on to become the first female Plant Manager for a division of Mobile Oil. Peter became the Director of Global Real Estate for TRW for the last 13 years of his working career.

They developed an interest in theater back in Michigan. Susan then enjoyed larger productions in Washington, DC. Soon after they married and settled in Los Angeles, they were thrilled that the Music Center was opening and Center Theatre Group was beginning to produce and present plays. They have enjoyed the growth of CTG under the artistic leadership of first, Gordon Davidson, and then Michael Ritchie. They are excited about the new Manager Director, Meghan Pressman and the experience she brings from Washington, DC.

Peter talks about the remarkable change in performing arts in Los Angeles over the past 60 years and the continuity of the traditional performing art venues at the Music Center. They believe this has been a significant factor in the migration of talent to the West Coast from New York and London. In their opinion this cultural development has been a centerpiece for the progressive growth of central Los Angeles.

Susan and Peter enjoy all theater. They attend performances in all three of CTG’s theaters; The Taper, Ahmanson, and Kirk Douglas theaters. The August Wilson plays are among their favorites. They have also been important supporters of CTG for many years. In addition to theater, they have been subscribers to the Hollywood Bowl for the past 15 years.

Their experience with the Music Center Foundation has been very positive. “They listened and understood our needs and objectives. After explaining alternatives, they helped us, with our advisors, adopt a plan to meet our needs and help us become significant donors.”

LA Master Chorale

High School Choir Festival

The Los Angeles Master Chorale has proudly presented its annual High School Choir Festival since 1989, offering students a chance to deepen their exposure and understanding of the choral art through a year-long experience leading up to the celebratory Festival Day.

The Music Center Opens The NEW Music Center Plaza

The Music Center is L.A.’s home to the world’s greatest artistic programs and events, a place for Angelenos to join together for meaningful experiences. And The Music Center Plaza is an ideal place to welcome all to the heart of the Civic Center.

L.A. needs more open public space that invites the community to engage on many different levels, from encountering art in surprising and unexpected ways, to public programming, or enjoying a good book under the canopy of shade trees.  From savoring a delicious meal before a night at the theatre, to sipping coffee or a glass of wine, to enjoying time spent with family and friends, The Music Center Plaza is poised to be a space that all can enjoy.

This is not just a plaza for the performing arts.  It is a plaza for Los Angeles.  A plaza that is, in and of itself, a destination.  A warm, welcoming public space that offers an open invitation to all and a front door, now even wider, to The Music Center.

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