The Smucker family, already known throughout Northeast Ohio for its world-famous jam, made more news locally earlier this year when former company chief executive Richard was named Board President of The Cleveland Orchestra. Today, the family is making its commitment to the orchestra as clear as it can.
Richard and his wife Emily had pledged to give $15 million of their own money to The Cleveland Orchestra, the second-largest gift in the recent history of the orchestra. The couple is making the donation in celebration of the orchestra's 100th anniversary.
“From my own life experience, I know that music has the power to change lives," Richard Smucker said in a statement. "It has transformed how I think about the world, and I revel in the experience of sharing a performance with family and friends, all of us together. I find myself renewed through music.”
Much of the gift will be used to fund artistic and education programs for young children, as well as the orchestra's endowment. In addition, $3 million will be pledged to challenge grants.
“We want to help ensure that The Cleveland Orchestra continues to inspire future generations, and that this music will be shared and enjoyed one hundred years from now," Emily Smucker said. "It takes all of us working together to make sure that The Cleveland Orchestra can offer music to audiences of any age."
After stepping down as CEO of the Smucker Company in 2016, Richard was named president of The Cleveland Orchestra Board of Directors in March of this year. He has served on the board since 1989, and remains with his family's company as executive chairman.
Franz Welser-Möst, the orchestra’s music director, also expressed his gratitude for the gift.
"Richard and Emily are also teachers, leading by example that sharing and working together for good is a noble and empowering act," Welser-Möst said. "They are deserving of thanks, not just from us today, but from future generations who will be inspired by The Cleveland Orchestra.”