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Boston Conservatory Announces $2 Million Challenge from Calderwood

The Boston Conservatory Announces a $2 million challenge from the Calderwood Charitable Foundation

Conservatory’s $16 Million Campaign Bolstered by Two Key Challenges and Two Key Hires

Boston, MA—The Boston Conservatory, the oldest conservatory of its kind in the nation, announces a generous $2 million challenge from the Calderwood Charitable Foundation, a trust founded by the late Stanford Calderwood, a longtime supporter of the arts in Boston. The Calderwood Charitable Foundation has pledged $2 million to The Campaign for The Boston Conservatory if the Conservatory can secure a matching $2 million from no more than four additional donors within one year of the start of that challenge.

Richard Ortner, President of The Boston Conservatory, states, “We are thrilled and honored to receive this exciting challenge from the Calderwood Charitable Foundation. At a time when fundraising is measurably more difficult for all organizations, this tremendous act of faith in The Boston Conservatory bolsters our efforts, renews our focus and reminds us yet again of the Calderwood Foundation’s extraordinary legacy of support for the arts and higher education in our community.

John Cornish, a Trustee of the Calderwood Foundation, adds, “Stanford Calderwood and his wife Norma Jean were longtime patrons of theater in Boston and would be pleased to support the next generation of talented performers who come to Boston to learn their craft.”

The Calderwood challenge comes with a key requirement. It is contingent on the successful completion of an earlier challenge by Conservatory Trustee Cindy Curme and her husband Ollie. In 2008 the Curmes pledged $1 million to the Conservatory’s campaign if the board of trustees and overseers can “give-or-get” an additional $2 million by December 31, 2009. When the Curme challenge has been met the Calderwood challenge will begin.

“The Calderwood challenge brings new urgency and incentive to the timely completion of the Curme challenge, as well as to the Conservatory’s expanding major gifts program. Although it won’t be easy, these challenges give our campaign an extraordinary shot of energy, something we know we can leverage in this difficult economic environment,” says Ortner.

Both challenges support “The Campaign for The Boston Conservatory,” the institution’s first comprehensive capital campaign. Announced in October 2008, the $16 million campaign supports scholarships, the endowment and the “Hemenway Project,” the expansion and renovation of the Conservatory’s 60-year old theater building at 31 Hemenway Street. To date, The Boston Conservatory has raised $10 million, $6 million of which is earmarked for the Hemenway Project, currently in construction and scheduled for completion in fall 2010 (

According to Eileen Meny, director of development at the Conservatory, “The economic environment has shifted dramatically since the campaign began, but we have always set our sights on exceeding, not just meeting, the Conservatory’s ambitious campaign goals. These challenges help to move us toward that goal in a very exciting way.”

The Boston Conservatory Staffs Up

Also bolstering the campaign effort are two new staff positions in the development office. The Conservatory recently appointed Karen Solomon as Campaign Director and Dina Roberts, a former overseer, as Major Gifts Officer. Solomon brings more than 20 years experience in fund-raising, having served as a chief development officer for several Rhode Island institutions, including the CVS Highlander Charter School/Dunn Institute, the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Music School, and Community Preparatory School. Roberts was most recently the director of institutional advancement and public relations at Urban College of Boston. She has also held senior development positions with Boston Medical Center, Women’s Educational and Industrial Union (now the Crittenton Women's Union), Suffolk University and the YMCA of Greater Boston.

Adds Meny, “Karen Solomon and Dina Roberts bring tremendous experience, enthusiasm and networks to our campaign efforts. They join a talented development team and, working together, I have every confidence that we will bring this campaign to successful completion.

About Stanford Calderwood

During his lifetime, Stanford Calderwood and his wife Norma Jean were among Boston’s greatest patrons of the arts. At Calderwood’s death in 2002 at age 81, the Calderwoods had already left a remarkable legacy of support. Endowed artistic and curatorial positions, professorial chairs and program initiatives for the Huntington Theatre, the Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard University, Boston College, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Boston Athenaeum, the Cambridge Art Association, and the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire all bear the Calderwood name Numerous playwrights have been commissioned by the Huntington through the Stanford Calderwood Fund for New American Plays, which was established just before his death. A 1942 graduate of the University of Colorado, Calderwood served in the Navy during World War II, and later worked as a journalist. He was employed at Polaroid for 17 years, followed by a brief tenure as president of WGBH, where he secured a major grant from Mobil Oil to create one of public television’s iconic programs, Masterpiece Theatre. Following this, Calderwood pursued a career in finance, becoming CEO of Trinity Investment Management in 1981. He remained there until 1999.

About The Boston Conservatory

The Boston Conservatory trains exceptional young performing artists in music, dance and theater for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its intimate and supportive multi-disciplinary environment, The Boston Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs, and presents more than 200 performances each year by students, faculty and guest artists. Since its founding in 1867, The Boston Conservatory has shared its talent and creativity with the city of Boston, the region and the nation, and continues to grow today as a vibrant community of artists and educators. For more information, visit

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