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November 02, 2023

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra receives Christel DeHaan Family Foundation Legacy Grant 

Funds to endow Opening Night Gala and Community Engagement programs 

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) recently received a Legacy Grant from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation to endow their Opening Night Gala and Community Engagement programs. Beginning in the fall of 2024, the Opening Night Gala will be recognized as “Opening Night Gala Endowed by Christel DeHaan.” Since 2001, the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation has supported the ISO’s Opening Night Gala. 

The ISO is establishing a second named endowment sub-fund to create the Christel DeHaan Community Engagement Fund. This fund will support opportunities for community members to engage with the ISO’s Music Director and orchestra. This includes support for work that allows the orchestra to reach new audiences and perform in nontraditional spaces outside of the Hilbert Circle Theatre. 

“Ms. DeHaan loved music and was an avid supporter of the ISO,” said James Johnson, CEO of the ISO. “She attended a wide range of concerts, from classical performances to Symphony on the Prairie and Yuletide Celebration, but the ISO’s opening night was truly special for her. Her longtime support of this evening each year and her advocacy of the orchestra’s work in the community enabled the orchestra to be an arts leader in Indianapolis and central Indiana. We hope to carry on her legacy through this grant.” 

About Christel DeHaan
Christel’s passion for life, for causes, for people and for the arts, music and nature was underscored by a deep commitment to excellence in all that she did.  She made a difference as an employer, as a community leader and as a philanthropist. The Christel DeHaan Family Foundation (CDFF) has made grants supporting over 700 arts, education, child welfare and human needs organizations. In 1998 she founded Christel House, a public charity that helps children around the world break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient, contributing members of society.  

Through these efforts, Christel DeHaan will be remembered for providing educational opportunities to children in Indianapolis and around the globe, and for strengthening arts and cultural institutions in Indianapolis. Christel’s philosophy of life was, “to care, to share, to make a difference,” and nothing could summarize her life more clearly. 

About the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, at home and thriving in the heart of Indianapolis, offers an exceptional artistic and musical experience. The orchestra is open to all and dedicated to creating an inclusive and innovative experiential environment that is inspiring, educational, and welcoming. The ISO celebrates historically beloved performances while engaging audiences by introducing new voices through programming including the IU Health Plans Classical Series, the Printing Partners Pops Series, the holiday traditions of AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration and the popular Film Series presented by Bank of America. For more information, visit