Foundation Donors

Barbara and Donald Ottosen started The Ottosen Family Foundation in 1995 after an incredibly difficult year for their family. Coming through the year and thankful for all they had, they felt they were in a position to share their good fortune and success with others in need in Arizona. The Foundation’s mission statement initially was to improve the quality of life in the Arizona community, with an emphasis on women and children’s issues through education, health care, nature, and the arts. As the Foundation continued to grow and explore need areas within the state they progressed into a focus on the sciences, education, conservation, and sustainability, the arts, healthcare, and medical research. They strive to find organizations that will benefit and grow due to their involvement and are continuously learning more about the incredible people and non-profit opportunities within the state of Arizona.

As Prima Circle level donors for many years, they have thoroughly enjoyed their involvement with Ballet Arizona. The Ottosens didn’t become actively involved until mutual friends encouraged them to attend a performance of Giselle as their guests. It was instant love and became a large focus for the both of them. Barbara joined Ballet Arizona’s Board in 2013 to become more involved with the Ballet and assist in growing the support network and direction of membership. She immediately assumed a leadership role as the Chair of the Governance Committee and has worked with current and new board members to help create the incredible organization it has morphed into today.

In addition to the other organizations they support, they are especially passionate about Desert Botanical Garden. Donald is a Trustee Emeritus and Barbara previously served on various committees at the Garden. Upon experiencing the mutual success of An Evening at Desert Botanical Garden, stemming from Ballet Arziona’s New Works Initiative, they felt their involvement in producing The Firebird would continue the growth of ballet patronage. For Barbara and Donald, seeing garden patrons who may not have had an affinity for ballet initially become ballet lovers was an opportunity to open so many new doors for Ballet Arizona. This contemporary style of ballet is what ultimately led them to produce The Firebird. In the nearly 20 years Ib Andersen has been with Ballet Arizona, they felt it was important for Ib to have the financial support and creative freedom to create new contemporary choreography for Ballet Arizona.

“Several of our favorite contemporary ballets, such as Eroica and Topia, were created from Ib’s creative genius,” says Barbara. “The Firebird is one of our new favorites as well. These new ballets will help us achieve a new generation of ballet supporters and allow Ib a stage for his incredibly creative and expressive works.”

Ballet Arizona would not be the Company that it is today without the support of The Dorrance Family Foundation.

Since 2002, the Foundation has granted over $4,000,000 to Ballet Arizona. Their support helped Ballet Arizona grow physically, by funding our Capital Campaign that built our new state-of-the-art rehearsal space, school, and administrative offices on Washington Street. They helped the Company grow artistically by being the premiere funder of our New Works Initiative with a $1,000,000 grant bringing us back to Desert Botanical Garden each year for the next five years.

The Foundation’s support has also allowed the Company and the School to blossom artistically with our intimate 299-seat Dorrance Theatre. For the first time ever, The School of Ballet Arizona has presented 2 full-length story ballets: The Sleeping Beauty and most recently 3 sold out performances of Swan Lake. The theatre has also allowed Ballet Arizona to grow its Education and Outreach programs by offering Performance Hours, which are completely free and open to the public.

The Dorrance Family Foundation funds so many well-deserving organizations around the Valley, in California, and Hawaii. Ballet Arizona is extremely grateful to be a recipient of their continued generosity and unwavering support.

Simply put, the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation is one of Ballet Arizona’s most important funders.

The Marley Foundation has granted a total of $1,625,000 to Ballet Arizona since its establishment in 1990, shortly before Mr. Marley’s death. Capital Campaign Co-Chair Carol Schilling said, “The Marley Foundation’s early and transformative gift for our new building inspired many others to give generously, too.”

Two grandsons of the Marleys – Stephen and Daniel Corrigan – now sit on the foundation board. They continue the family tradition of philanthropy, including an abiding interest in agriculture, education, the arts and children.

Foundation President Stephen Corrigan was quoted in 1997 after his grandmother’s passing that, “… she had a real hard time turning away any worthy cause for kids.” Today, hundreds of children pass the Kemper and Ethel Marley Box Office on their way to dance classes in Ballet Arizona’s new headquarters on East Washington Street. Given Kemper Marley’s major role in developing Arizona’s cattle industry, it is an interesting coincidence that the new ballet building is located just down the street from the former Phoenix stockyards!

Foundation President Stephen Corrigan was quoted in 1997 after his grandmother’s passing that, “… she had a real hard time turning away any worthy cause for kids.” Today, hundreds of children pass the Kemper and Ethel Marley Box Office on their way to dance classes in Ballet Arizona’s new headquarters on East Washington Street. Given Kemper Marley’s major role in developing Arizona’s cattle industry, it is an interesting coincidence that the new ballet building is located just down the street from the former Phoenix stockyards!

Other Marley Foundation grants have supported Ballet Arizona’s Education and Outreach programs, which reach almost 35,000 people in central Arizona each year. Low-income, disabled and foster-care students have benefited particularly from Marley Foundation-funded programming, including Ballet Under the Stars, Angel Nights and Student Matinees.

Ballet Arizona thanks the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation for planting the seeds that grew into the vibrant, thriving organization we are today.

Ballet Arizona is thrilled to announce that Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust recently granted $980,000 to its Next Step Capital Campaign. The Virginia G. Piper Administrative Wing now joins other named spaces at the Center for Dance, including the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation Box Office and the Sharron Lewis Artistic Wing.

“We are grateful to Piper Trust for this transformational gift, which is one of the five largest contributions made to our $13 million campaign,” said Campaign Co-Chair Jacquie Dorrance. “With it, we complete funding for construction of our fantastic new Center for Dance. Because of Piper Trust, we can now focus on securing contributions to build a cash reserve for the future”

Piper Trust, which honors the legacy of Virginia Galvin Piper, supports organizations that enrich health, well-being and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County. Since the Trust began awarding grants in 2000, it has invested more than $328 million in local nonprofits and programs.

Dr. Susan M. Pepin, Piper Trust President and CEO said, “We are pleased to recognize the key role that Ballet Arizona plays in the cultural life of our community. The new Center for Dance makes it possible to reach even more people with opportunities to enjoy ballet performances, dance training and arts education.”

Piper Trust works side-by-side with nonprofit organizations as a partner, helping them to identify problems, build expertise, find solutions and become continually stronger and more effective.

“This investment by Piper Trust recognizes the hard work done by many people at Ballet Arizona since 1986,” said Campaign Co-Chair Carol Schilling. “Our donors, board, other volunteers, audience members, dancers, production crew, faculty, musicians and administrative staff have made Ballet Arizona the vibrant organization that Piper Trust honors today.”

In 2014, Ballet Arizona received a phone call from Harry Papp, managing director of The Virginia M. Ullman Foundation. The Ballet had submitted a grant asking the foundation for $25,000 to support live music in tandem with live ballet performances.

Instead, we received even better news…The Virginia M. Ullman Foundation awarded Ballet Arizona with a $50,000 grant, doubling their impact, to support live music in conjunction with our performances over the next year!

Since 2007, the foundation has supported Ballet Arizona every year with a total investment of $345,000. Donors such as The Virginia M. Ullman Foundation provide a base of financial support of all Ballet Arizona activities. Their support assists the Company as Ballet Arizona strives towards excellence with our innovative and proactive performance season and live music accompaniment by the Phoenix Symphony for the majority of our productions.

Raising the Artistic ‘Barre’

Established in 1986, The Virginia M. Ullman Foundation has focused on giving back to the Arizona community. Virginia originally lived in vibrant and flourishing metropolitan art areas from Chicago to New York. Virginia lost her husband and didn’t have a family, so she wanted to share her assets and gifts to build the arts and culture in her adopted home state of Arizona.

Virginia had one mission: to grow the Arizona arts community to the rich cultural standards of that of New York and Chicago. After Virginia passed away in 2005, The Virginia M. Ullman Foundation was established to continue building the arts community across the Valley to create an unprecedented reputation of greatness.

Not only does the Virginia M. Ullman Foundation support the Ballet, but also The Heard Museum, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona State University, and The Phoenix Zoo.

“We believe in a vibrant arts and culture community,” says Papp, “we think that’s important to have a great quality of life in this state. We think it makes Arizona an important place to live. We don’t just need MBAs, lawyers, and engineers, but we also need artists as a balance to create a well-rounded culture.”

Ballet Arizona would like to thank The Virginia M. Ullman Foundation for their unwavering support to the arts, and for helping give Arizona an ever-increasing reputation for excellence in performing arts.

Ballet Arizona Philanthropy Dept.
2835 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85034

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