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$5 Million Gift from the Henry & Elaine Kaufman Foundation Launches Campaign to Double Kaufman Music Center Endowment

  • <p>Elaine & Henry Kaufman</p>
  • <p>Cathy O’Rourke, Elaine Kaufman, Bethany Millard, John O’Rourke</p>
  • <p>Kate Sheeran, Gale Brewer, Phyllis Feder, Orli Shaham</p>
  • <p>Harry Smith, Sophia Shao, Amir Sahay</p>
  • <p>Elaine Kaufman</p>
  • <p>The Hollingsworth Family</p>
  • <p>Elisha Jimenez, Benjamin Barham-Wiese</p>
  • <p>Sofia Santana, Gabriel Globus-Hoenich</p>
  • <p>Special Music School authors of “Who Is Florence Price?”</p>
  • <p>Smith, Lepore-Currin, Shaham, España, Kesselman</p>

Key friends have already contributed an additional $2.5 million towards the endowment goal.

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View 2022 Gala photos

At its 2022 Spring Gala on June 7, Kaufman Music Center announced a $5 million endowment gift from the Henry and Elaine Kaufman Foundation and launched a campaign to double its current endowment to $20 million. The gift builds on the Center’s strong foundation and will help to ensure a sustainable future as its programs continue to grow and thrive, bringing music into the lives of more than 50,000 students and audience members from all backgrounds each year.

Inspired by the Kaufmans’ generous gift, key friends of the Center have already contributed more than $2.5 million towards the endowment goal. For close to three decades the Center has made its music education programs accessible to thousands. The new endowment gift sets the stage for an even more successful and sustainable future.

Dr. Henry Kaufman said, “Kaufman Music Center has always been a special place for students and artists. At a time when its innovative programs are making such a difference for so many, Elaine and I are proud to play a role in helping ensure its successful future.”

Kaufman Music Center Board of Trustees Chair Orli Shaham said, “Elaine and Henry have shaped Kaufman Music Center’s history, and they are now ensuring its ability to grow and flourish as an artistic home for students, artists and faculty for decades to come. Thanks to its extraordinary energy and creativity, the Center has emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever, and we are deeply grateful for the Kaufmans’ support and leadership as we look ahead to our next stage.”

“I can think of no greater gift to Kaufman Music Center than one that helps to secure our future. Elaine and Henry’s generosity has been a driving force in helping us to make arts education truly accessible,” said Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Kate Sheeran. “Each year, Lucy Moses School serves over 2,000 students, and Special Music School gives our 300 K-12 students an intensive education like no other, including music classes, lessons and ensembles, at no cost to families. This new gift and campaign will ensure that these opportunities will exist for generations to come.”

Kaufman Music Center has continued to flourish during the challenges of the past two years, expanding its reach through more than 200 digital presentations; launching new initiatives such as its acclaimed Musical Storefronts concert series that brought live music to more than 37,000 New Yorkers during the pandemic; and celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Special Music School, a unique K-12 public school that provides intensive music education during the school day including fully-funded instrument lessons, music classes and ensembles along with academics.

Founded in 1952 as a community music school, Kaufman Music Center has since grown to become one of New York City’s most vibrant cultural institutions. Formerly known as The Hebrew Arts School, it was named Kaufman Music Center following a transformative gift made in support of the institution by Elaine and Henry Kaufman in 1990. The Center is grateful for the Kaufman family’s continued leadership through their son Daniel Kaufman, a member of its Board of Trustees since 2020.

Photos by Fadi Kheir