Philadelphia Orchestra announces gifts

After months of negotiations with donors, the Philadelphia Orchestra Tuesday morning announced some major funding for its $160 million drive to underwrite the bankruptcy process and related costs, operations in the next few years, special projects and endowment.

According to an announcement that provides few details, the orchestra has recieved $11.2 million from the William Penn Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, philanthropist Gerry Lenfest, the Neubauer Family Foundation and an unspecified number of orchestra board members. The orchestra says it has another $16.3 million in matching offers that will require the group to identify an additional $17.5 million by the end of 2011.

The $160 million campaign represents a steep challenge in several ways. It is the orchestra's first major fund-raising effort in decades without Leonore Annenberg, who, with her husband Walter, gave about $100 million to the orchestra and Academy of Music. Both Annenbergs are deceased, and their foundation is now largely focused on California causes and projects. Fund-raising campaigns usually flourish only in an atmosphere of success, and the orchestra is in the midst of both a controversial bankruptcy and thorny negotiations with musicians.

Another challenge: the $160 million drive is in addition to the orchestra's usual annual fund-raising campaign.

And, as orchestra leaders themselves point out, the general economy is not exactly in the pink of health.