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Arizona Opera Receives “Now is the Moment” Surprise Grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Phoenix, AZ (Sept. 15) – Arizona Opera was one of 71 Arizona nonprofits to receive a “Now is the Moment” grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust on Monday, September 13. This surprise gift of $2.5 million - the largest one-time grant in Arizona Opera history - will enable the organization to continue to create memorable experiences and expand the impact of opera while serving all members of the state of Arizona through traditional and newly created programs. As Arizona Opera celebrates its 50th Anniversary during the 2021/22 Season and reimagines performing arts during a global pandemic, the support from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust empowers Arizona Opera to take steps to further ensure a stronger future of service to communities across the state.

“On behalf of the entire Arizona Opera organization, I want to express our most profound gratitude to Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust for their unprecedented, overwhelming, and visionary generosity through the ‘Now is the Moment’ grant commemoration. As we look at a multiyear recovery process for our organization and our sector more broadly, the timeliness and enormity of this grant will allow us to move forward with a level of confidence that was unimaginable prior to Monday’s announcement. We thank Piper Trust for making this moment possible for Arizona Opera, and for so many worthy organizations,” stated Joseph Specter, President and General Director of Arizona Opera.

Arizona Opera Board Chair, Dr. Stephen Munk commented, “I am truly stunned - I have been involved through difficult times with other opera boards and surviving those situations was often painful. Having a visionary benefactor contact the organization unexpectedly with such generous support was a first. That was the most remarkable five minutes of my life.”

Trustees of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust awarded a total of $123 million in surprise grants to 71 Arizona nonprofits—the largest single-day grant initiative in Arizona’s history. Despite a tumultuous year due to the global health crisis caused by COVID-19 and economic uncertainty across all sectors, many individuals and institutions with large investments in the stock market experienced extraordinary growth in the value of their holdings. Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust’s endowment grew by $123 million in the 15 months following the start of the pandemic. With these two opposing forces at work, and as stewards of the Trust’s founder, Virginia Galvin Piper, Trustees felt compelled to share all of the earnings with the community in one swift action.

Grantee selection was shaped by each organization’s respective mission and impact in the community. The grants range in size and were determined by a variety of factors such as an organization’s overall need, budget size, and populations served. Some selections were based on Virginia Piper’s history of giving to organizations as well as her personal values. Since it began awarding grants in 2000, Piper Trust has awarded more than $517 million in grants to the community—and with Monday’s announcement, the Trust’s total grantmaking since its inception exceeds $644 million.

About Arizona Opera
Arizona Opera, entering its 50th Season in fall of 2021, produces fully-staged operas, concerts, and collaborative programs throughout the state of Arizona each season, and is among only a handful of companies in the U.S. that regularly performs in more than one city. Arizona Opera elevates the transformative power of storytelling through music, cultivating community and strengthening a state and people as adventurous and diverse as the place they call home. Since its inaugural year in 1971, Arizona Opera has produced more than 200 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company's artistic history is rich with a blend of operas traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas.