As the Institution increasingly depends on the annual Chautauqua Fund for its financial sustainability and programming, following an analysis the decision was made to increase the entry level gift for the Bestor Society in 2019.
“We have a leadership giving community inside the annual fund comprised of members of the 1874 Society and the Bestor Society,” said Tina Downey, director of the Chautauqua Fund. “Starting in January of this year, we have shifted the entry level of the Bestor Society from $3,500 to $5,000.”
Bestor Society gifts will now start being recognized at $5,000. For every supporter who makes their Bestor Society gift before Aug. 31, by increasing to this new level over their prior year’s gift, the Edward L. Anderson Jr. Foundation will contribute an additional $1,500 in funds to the 2019 Chautauqua Fund through a matching challenge named “Reaching New Heights.”
“In order to incentivize folks to really step up to the $5,000, if they’re able, the Edward L. Anderson Jr. Foundation has offered to provide this amazing opportunity for our community,” Downey said.
The Institution is grateful for all of its generous supporters and will still recognize those who give at the former Bestor level and are unable to increase contributions, Downey said. With this new adjustment, there will be a new level of membership within the 1874 Society.
“We don’t want to disenfranchise anybody who’s been giving at $3,500 because that’s a significant gift,” Downey said. “What we’ve done is create a new level in the 1874 Society which recognizes 1874 Society Fellows who make gifts at that $3,500 level.”
Philanthropy is a major component in providing the best possible experience for all who experience Chautauqua, and Downey appreciates people who take the initiative to make gifts to the annual Chautauqua Fund.
“There are teachers and preachers, people who are saving all year to get here,” Downey said. “For them to step up and say ‘I understand the value of my gate pass, I understand the value of access to all of these fantastic programs, the conversations I have with people, all of the learning that happens and the artistic experiences, that I choose to go above and beyond,’ and say ‘You know what, I’m going to do an extra $1,000 to $2,000 or whatever I can do to support that experience,’ is a powerful testament to their belief in what happens here.”
To learn more about Chautauqua’s annual fund or how to join the Bestor Society, please visit giving.chq.org or contact Tina Downey, director of the Chautauqua Fund, at 716.357.6465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.