Summarry of excerpts from
A Centennial History
By T. Jervis Underwood
(1998 to 2005 compiled by Ryan T. Ripperton)
THE MURRAY, KENTUCKY YEARS
Preliminary discussion of the possibility of forming a Phi Mu Alpha foundation took place during the Executive Committee meeting of April, 1953. A need for a foundation was perceived for reinvestment of surplus funds, to accept donations toward the perpetuity of the fraternity, and to help the organization fulfill its mission of advancing the cause of music in America. Anticipated uses of money from the foundation were commissioning compositions, providing scholarships for worthy musicians, and furthering the effort to make America more music conscious. An immediate goal of $500,000 was established.
The minutes of the Executive Committee reveal that Arthur Hauser, president of the Theodore Presser Publishing Co., had been named chairman of the Foundation, even though the Foundation had yet to be formally established.
A committee of province governors under the chairmanship of Province 7 Governor Robert Taylor had also been meeting to consider the possibilities of a foundation. This committee had established its own list of suggestions, concerns, and sources of money which largely corresponded with the list generated by the National Executive Committee, plus the addition of a Sinfonia building and a hall of fame.
The Sinfonia Foundation had its formal beginning at the August, 1954, meeting of the fraternity’s Executive Committee. It was to be a completely separate corporation from the fraternity, having a charter, or constitution and bylaws, of its own. And it was to have as its goal the establishment of a five-million-dollar fund.
The Articles of Incorporation of the Sinfonia Foundation of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Inc. were filed in the city of Murray, in the County of Calloway, in the State of Kentucky, on the 30th of November, 1954.
The board of Trustees of the Sinfonia Foundation (consisting of the members of the Executive Committee of the fraternity) held its first organizational meeting July 15, 1955. They elected Archie N. Jones, chairman of the board; Arthur A. Hauser, president; and Price Doyle, secretary-treasurer. One of their first actions was to borrow $8000 from the fraternity as seed money to meet the initial expenses of getting organized, to set programs in motion, and to begin soliciting donations.
The Foundation made one of its first goals the promotion of music therapy programs, which were still in their infancy at that time. It took over from the fraternity the funding of the music camp scholarships for outstanding high school musicians, the Charles E. Lutton Scholarships for “Best Chapters,” and the Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award. It also began commissioning compositions.
Bob Schmitt was elected president of the Sinfonia Foundation in 1958. His report in the April, 1958 “Sinfonian” reveals that the Foundation was exploring the possibility of promoting music in the ministry and was still involved in furthering the cause of music therapy. archie Jones was elected president of the Foundation in 1960. His election initiated the practice of electing the retiring national president of the fraternity as president of the Foundation.
At the 1962 Convention Jones reported contributions totaling $13,151 and expenditures of $8,239. He reported awarding thirty-five partial scholarships to summer music camps and sending checks to twenty-two institutions of higher learning for partial payment of tuition. He announced the commissioning of several compositions, with half the royalties from publication being returned to the Foundation, and one composition that had been given to the Foundation in its entirety (“Happy is the Man” by Harry Robert Wilson).
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1967 to 1978
In 1969 the Foundation began awarding research assistance grants in support of scholarly research in the field of American music. The Foundation also began a series of commissions of new music in the same year by engaging Samuel Adler to write a work for men’s voices. “Begin, My Muse” was published by Oxford University Press. Agreements were reached with several publishers to issue works in a Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Series.
In 1974 the Foundation established a program of matching grants to aid chapters involved in worthwhile projects. Successful applications have included commissioning new music, awarding scholarships, sponsoring jazz festivals and marching band contests, and other such activities in support of the fraternity’s mission.
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1979 to 1994
Maurice I. Laney served as president of the Sinfonia Foundation during the 1979-1982 triennium. He indicated that funding the Charles E. Lutton Scholarships, commissioning new music for performance at the Assemblies, awarding research assistance grants, and awarding matching grants on a competitive basis to chapters for worthwhile projects were continuing into the 1980s. His financial report gave the total value of the Foundation trust as $110,250.
The Foundation entered into an agreement with a fund-raising organization (Dorris and Associates), which had optimistically predicted that they could raise $500,000 for the Foundation. At the time of the 1982 Assembly, $13,000 had been raised, but the campaign expenses had exceeded $18,000. The agreement with Dorris and Associates was discontinued on February 24, 1983.
After the 1982 Assembly, the Sinfonia Corporation for the first time elected a trustee who was not a member of the NEC or an executive director of the fraternity. Robert G. Campbell, Alpha Tau, recently retired, was elected to the board of trustees in the hope that he could provide advice and help stimulate support for the Foundation among the business sector.
At the March, 1986, Foundation meeting, the board of trustees noted that it had executed an obligation of $45,000, secured by the assets of the Foundation trust, to pay the expenses of the 1985 National Assembly.
In an article in the summer, 1989 Sinfonian, President Hause reviewed the five ongoing programs of the Foundation: new-music commissions, research-assistance grants, matching grants to chapters, Lutton Awards, and summer music camp awards. The same article revealed a new telemarketing fund drive dedicated to raising a million dollars for the Foundation trust by the time of the centennial. By the March, 1991, meeting of the Foundation board, the Pacific Group campaign was ongoing and contributions from alumni were coming in. However, the cost of the campaign was still $21,000 ahead of contributions. The Pacific Group had completed its part of the campaign and had been paid; all that remained was the collection of pledges, for an anticipated profit of $45,000. At that meeting, the trustees voted to enter into a second contract with Pacific Group to conduct a second phone-mail campaign, in the hope of an even more successful fundraising effort and expansion of the donor base.
The Foundation board and the fraternity’s National Executive Committee entered into an agreement to employ the consulting firm of Campbell & Company to advise them on strategic planning, at a cost of $15,000, to be shared equally by both organizations. With the centennial approaching, the two boards recognized the need to work toward a shared vision of goals for the second century of Sinfonia.
At its February, 1993, meeting, the Foundation board voted to cease paying the customary $250 scholarship in connection with the Charles E. Lutton Province Merit Award to the outstanding chapter in each province, bringing to an end a policy that had been followed since the inception of the Foundation. The reasoning was that while $250 did very little good in the current financial climate, the aggregate cost to the Foundation was a financial drain that detracted from the potential for other worthwhile endeavors.
At the February, 1994, meeting, the board voted to pay off the remaining debt at Citizens National Bank. The $15,000 was the final payment on the indebtedness incurred in the wake of the 1985 National Assembly for which the Foundation trust assets had been pledged as collateral. Because the bank had insisted on the continued pledge of $50,000 in trust fund assets even though payments had been made periodically to reduce the amount of the loan, the retirement of the debt brought about renewed flexibility in the management of the funds. At the meeting just prior to the 1994 National Assembly, Schroeder reported that the trust funds had been partly disbursed into mutual funds to improve earnings.
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1994 to 1998
In October, 1995, the Sinfonia Foundation board of trustees held a meeting in Miami, Florida, the first ever that was not connected with a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the fraternity. Action was taken at this meeting to revise the bylaws of the Foundation to establish an Executive Committee for the Foundation, to have only one annual meeting of the full Foundation board, plus meetings of the Foundation’s Executive Committee, and to provide a role for the new executive director, Gary Ingle.
At the February, 1996, meeting, the board voted to support the Leadership Conclave to be held in July, 1996, by providing $1,250 in the form of $25 scholarships to the first fifty registrants.
Throughout 1997 and much of 1998, a very tense and controversial reorganization of the Foundation's governance structure dominated the attention not only of the Foundation, but that of the fraternity as well. By September 1998, the governance structure had been resolved and the reorganization of the board of trustees was completed with the election of Darhyl Ramsey as president, Patrick Madden as vice president, John Jennings as secretary, and Gregory Harris as treasurer. Kenneth Raessler and David Swanzy were chosen to serve until 2001, and Madden and Harris were selected to serve until 2002.
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1998 to Present
From 1998 to 2002, the membership of the Foundation board was largely unchanged. Terry Blair (Fraternity National President from 1997-2000) and John Jennings (Fraternity National Collegiate Representative from 1997-2000) each rolled off the board at the end of the 1997-2000 triennium and were replaced by Robert Whitmoyer and Brandon Henson after their election to the National Executive Committee. Patrick Madden was elected President in 2000, and his leadership of the Foundation through the July 2004 meeting was characterized by his efforts, along with those of Treasurer Greg Harris, to bring the theories and practices of the field of philanthropic development to the Foundation.
During this period, however, the Foundation began observing concerning trends in annual giving. Only $25,000 was received in annual gifts in the fiscal year ending May 31, 2001, over $9,000 less than the previous year. Response was received from only 1.27% of those to whom appeals were mailed. Concern began to grow that the Foundation’s focus on “advancing the cause of music in America” was too far removed from the nature of the experience offered to collegiate Sinfonians.
In September 2002, at a joint meeting of the Fraternity’s National Executive Committee and the Foundation board, the groups discussed the possibility of a redirection of the Foundation’s mission. Supported by research done by John Mongiovi into the missions of other fraternity-related foundations, the realization began to take shape that the separation between the organizations’ focuses may have been responsible for the Foundation’s lackluster support from alumni.
After the restoration of the Fraternity’s original Object statement at the 2003 National Convention, the Fraternity’s National Executive Committee passed a unanimous resolution supporting the concept of restating the mission of the Foundation to bring it more closely in line with that of the Fraternity. After months of consideration, the Foundation board met in July 2004 and adopted changes to its Articles of Incorporation that would alter its mission statement to reflect an emphasis on educational support for the Fraternity and its members. To emphasize the change and symbolize the rebirth of the organization, the very name of the organization was changed to “Sinfonia Educational Foundation.”
Since this momentous change, alumni enthusiasm and support for the SEF's programs has grown significantly. Throughout this website, the reader can witness the manifestation of the growing energy surrounding the SEF.
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