Donors unite to establish Emergency Response Fund

Trustees lead efforts to support scholarships, staff, and health investments in the midst of extraordinary circumstances.

Academy students relaxing near the lake

In its nine-decade history, Interlochen Center for the Arts has overcome many challenging times.

The Great Depression, World War II, the 2008 recession, and other economically uncertain moments all put significant financial strain on the institution. Yet each time, despite all odds, Interlochen has persevered—and thrived.

While much of Interlochen’s survival can be attributed to the shrewd work of its leaders and finance officers, the majority of the credit is due to Interlochen’s faithful supporters. Time and again, they have given generously, eager to do what they could to preserve an institution that has meant so much to so many.

Today, Interlochen faces a new challenge: COVID-19. Despite the remarkable success of Interlochen Online, the cancellation of on-campus programs has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars of revenue.

In response to this deficit, the Board of Trustees approved the creation of the Emergency Response Fund at the May Board of Trustees meeting. “The Emergency Response Fund is one of the ways we can recover from the loss of Camp, Interlochen Presents events, and on-campus marching band camps,” said John Bogley, vice president of philanthropy. “We believe that part of the solution is asking those who believe in the transformative power of Interlochen to help build a bridge to brighter days. With the help of generous donors, we can offset the loss of critical revenue that allows us to deliver on our mission.”

The Fund was championed by two members of the Board of Trustees, who recognized the urgency of Interlochen’s need and made leadership gifts. Inspired by their peers, other trustees pledged support to the Fund, collectively committing over $1,000,000.

The momentum of these leadership gifts has continued. More than 275 donors have contributed an additional $500,000 in gifts of all sizes.

“Donors to this fund range from 2019 Arts Academy graduates to campers who attended Interlochen in the 1950s, plus dozens of Interlochen parents and friends,” Bogley said. With an overall goal of raising $2 million by fiscal year end, Bogley and the Advancement staff invite all who support Interlochen to help reach that goal.

Gifts to the Emergency Response Fund will provide support in three primary areas: scholarships, faculty and staff retention, and health and wellness investments to maintain a healthy environment for Academy students and the campus community this year.

“This is a moment for people who care deeply about Interlochen to say, ‘I want today's students to have an Interlochen experience,’” Bogley said. “By giving to the Emergency Response Fund, you can ensure that we can provide that experience to today’s students at a time when Interlochen—and our families—are being stretched.”

“I like to think of the Emergency Response Fund in terms of a theatre company or an orchestra: when everyone plays their part—no matter how big or small—we’re able to create magic.”