The Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation Contributes to $40 million UMKC Conservatory Expansion ProjectPhilanthropic investment eases crowded conditions for more than 600 students

The Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation has pledged a $200,000 gift toward the expansion project at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s (UMKC) Conservatory of Music and Dance. In keeping with one of the goals of the Dickinson family and Foundation, which is enhancing the community’s cultural attributes, the Conservatory investment will support artistic achievements and ease crowded conditions for the Conservatory’s 600-plus student body and its community division, the Academy of Music and Dance.

“Our family believes that a great city is known by its arts and cultural amenities, as well as its civic and business profiles,” said Amy Dickinson Holewinski, president of the Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation. “We are very pleased to join with others in support of UMKC’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. Its faculty and student body’s international reputation, and its extraordinary history with the arts in Kansas City, both inspire our community and position Kansas City as a premier, 21st Century American city.”

The Dickinson Foundation joins lead gifts from the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation and the Trio Foundation/Irwin and Rita Blitt. The total cost of the expansion is $40 million, with $20 million to be funded by gifts from corporate, foundation and individual donors. To date, more than $4 million in private gifts has been pledged to the project.

“We all recognize that the Conservatory, UMKC’s crown jewel, needs a new setting – a 21st century facility equal to our students’ abilities and imagination,” said Peter Witte, dean of the Conservatory. “The Dickinson Foundation’s gift affirms a shared determination to create a bright, artistically rich future for Kansas City and our region. In our current economic climate, this commitment is even more special.”

Focused, philanthropic investments in the performing and visual arts, like the Dickinson Foundation gift, will pay significant dividends for Kansas City, according to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s “Time To Get It Right” report on higher education. The report cites the arts as unequaled in drawing the community together to appreciate the creativity of students and faculty.

“The Conservatory’s central location and abundance of community collaborations ensure its essential role in the enrichment of UMKC and Kansas City’s communities,” said Leo Morton, UMKC chancellor. “The Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation’s gift shows a commitment to the Conservatory’s legacy of delivering the power of human creativity and the joy of music and dance to countless generations.”

Established by Ann Dickinson in 1998, the Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation honors the philanthropic interests of Ann and her late husband, Gary Dickinson. In remembrance of Gary’s passion for local and regional economic development, the Foundation has provided support for numerous capital campaigns in the Kansas City area that further this development.

Because Ann and Gary Dickinson graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, the Dickinson family’s ties and commitments to the University of Missouri System are strong. Ann serves on the University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees and an Advisory Committee for the UMKC Conservatory, the University of Missouri Alumni Association and three campaign committees for the University of Missouri-Columbia. The family also provided a Dickinson Family Scholarship at the UMKC Conservatory; established a Dickinson Scholars Program for University of Missouri College of Architecture, Food and Natural Resources sophomores to become acquainted with the Kansas City agribusiness community; and a grant in 2002 to renovate University of Missouri offices into the Gary Dickinson Student Achievement Center, as well as additional grants to the University of Missouri System.

About the Conservatory of Music and Dance:

The UMKC Conservatory of Music has earned national and international recognition through its music and dance performance, composition, teaching and scholarship. The most comprehensive music and dance educational center in the Midwest since 1906, the Conservatory boasts more than 80 faculty widely recognized as world-class scholars, artists, teachers and leaders in their fields. Their reputations help attract some of the finest students in the world, with more than 600 music and dance students currently enrolled. Conservatory alumni live in all 50 states and in 14 foreign countries, although almost 40 percent remain in Missouri.

Each year, more than 46,000 people enter the Conservatory for concerts, faculty and student recitals, student operas and musical theater productions. More than 1,200 Conservatory alumni and faculty live and work in the Kansas City region, leading the development of cultural institutions, such as:

  • The Kansas City Symphony (originally Kansas City Philharmonic), founded by faculty member Karl Krueger in 1933
  • The Kansas City Ballet, founded by faculty member Tatiana Dokoudovska in 1957
  • The Lyric Opera, founded by doctoral student Russell Patterson in 1958
  • The Kansas City Chorale, founded by student Jonathan Griffith in 1982; alumnus Charles Bruffy took over in 1988 and turned it into a top national choral group
  • Quality Hill Playhouse, founded by alumnus J. Kent Barnhart in 1995

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City:

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Celebrating 75 years, UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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