Message from the CEO

geof follansbeeThe Chautauqua Foundation seeks to assure that Chautauqua Institution is capable of delivering in perpetuity at the highest level on the Institution's mission. Thus the Foundation's focus is on developing and prudently investing philanthropic resources that will sustain Chautauqua for all time.

As a multi-faceted center of lifelong learning, Chautauqua Institution provides an increasingly rare forum for the respectful exchange of divergent ideas, beliefs, and political viewpoints among national and international thought leaders and thoughtful citizens who gather across nine weeks each summer on Chautauqua Lake in western New York. Since its founding in 1874, the Institution has provided an unparalleled, intergenerational experience that mixes the artistic, intellectual, and spiritual energies of presenters and patrons alike, who together engage in interfaith discussion, witness the products of Chautauqua's Schools of Fine & Performing arts, take on a bounty of recreational opportunities, and seek out a wide range of literary pursuits.

In 2018, the Chautauqua Foundation's position is strong, our ambitions are great. We welcome the opportunity to engage you in fulfilling Chautauqua's promise as a sustainable, vital, enlivening, and year-round force in our national conversation and the lives of all who are and all who would become Chautauquans.

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Geof Follansbee

CEO, Chautauqua Foundation



school historyChautauqua Foundation, Inc., is the principal organization responsible for the philanthropic funding of the Chautauqua Institution.

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Board of Directors

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Chautauqua Foundation Staff

Bell Tower Pier buildingView the staff members of the Chautauqua Foundation.

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080816 PromiseCelebration sh 02View the Chautauqua Foundation's publications directory here.

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PromiseCampaign FinalReportCoverNearly 7,000 contributors—individuals, families, foundations and partners—brought Chautauqua beyond the finish line in the single-largest campaign in the Institution’s history. The original goal of $98.2 million to be raised throughout the six-year Promise Campaign (2011-2016) was exceeded by more than $5 million upon its successful conclusion on December 31, 2016. This is a testament to the generosity of this community and a shared belief in Chautauqua’s Promise.

Click here to learn more about the Promise Campaign’s objectives, community participation and to review the report on giving.

The largest project accomplished through generous philanthropy committed during the Promise Campaign was the re-construction of Chautauqua’s Amphitheater. Join the community-wide effort to provide future care for the Amp. Click here for more information or to make a gift!


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Those who are eligible for membership of the Chautauqua Foundation corporation have served or currently serve on the Foundation's Board of Directors or the Institution's Board of Trustees as either an officer, director, or a trustee, and anyone who has made gifts to the Foundation subsequent to June 30, 2002, that in the aggregate exceed $1,000, and who has not declined eligibility by a written statement received by the Foundation declining eligibility for membership.

A member's term expires upon receipt by the Foundation of a written resignation as a member, by action of the Board of Director's if a member has attended, in person or by proxy, none of the duly called meetings of the members held within the three successive fiscal years of the Foundation prior to such action, or within the same period, has failed to make any gift to the Foundation.

2018 Annual Membership Meeting

The annual meeting of the members of the corporation will be Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 9:00 am. Members will be notified by mail not less than ten nor more than forty days before the meeting.


The Lewis Miller Circle recognizes members of the NOW Generation whose leadership gifts help sustain the delivery of the entire CHQ experience, and inspire others to join them in similar acts of generosity.

Comprised of individuals who make an annual gift of $250 or more to the Chautauqua Fund, the Lewis Miller Circle provides an immediate impact on innovations to the annual experience at CHQ, supporting the full range of programming for families and patrons of all ages, as well as scholarships for the majority of students enrolled at the Schools of Fine & Performing Arts.

The Lewis Miller Circle’s dedication and financial support are helping build a stronger that will continue to welcome and nourish young professionals, families and artists for generations to come.

Gifts can be made securely online or by calling 716.357.6404. (Please note the Lewis Miller Circle when making your gift!)

Benefits of Membership in the Lewis Miller Circle

  • Invitation to an intimate Lewis Miller Circle reception at the President’s Cottage
  • Discounted tickets to NOW Generation-sponsored events
  • Special recognition in the annual report on giving
  • Complimentary subscription to PILLARS, a semi-annual publication for community leaders

Lewis Miller

Born in 1829, Lewis Miller was ahead of his times.... An Ohio inventor and industrialist—as well as father-in-law to Thomas Edison, innovator, machinist, later philanthropist, and visionary co-founder of the Chautauqua Movement on the shores of Chautauqua Lake—his legacy endures at Chautauqua Institution, and inspires us to consider the difference one person can make.

The NOW Generation is comprised of young adults (ages 21-40) who find value and meaning in promoting the CHQ experience and devote their time, energy and resources to ensuring its longevity and continued relevance.

The NOW Generation is a valuable resource for every young Chautauquan to deepen her or his social and civic engagement. Designed to encourage a more vibrant, diverse and robust community, the NOW Generation seeks to cultivate current assets, and to strengthen and develop new networks of individuals and partnering organizations that will build a stronger CHQ… a CHQ that will continue to welcome and nourish young professionals, families and artists for generations to come.

For more information on additional programs, volunteer opportunities or more, please “like” the NOW Generation at To sign up for the NOW Generation e-newsletter and receive invitations to upcoming events, please contact Megan Sorenson at or 716.357.6243.

Objectives of the NOW Generation Initiative

  • Create a network of young Chautauquans who connect year-round and more fully explore the texture and dimension CHQ adds to their lives
  • Encourage creativity and fresh ways of thinking and learning, and share knowledge of emerging interests within the CHQ community
  • Provide organic, grassroots philanthropy at CHQ that is both intimate and far-reaching
  • Provide ways to match young people’s values, social vision, educational pursuits and spiritual ideals with CHQ’s evolving needs and opportunities
  • Prepare and empower young adults for leadership roles

Creating a more vibrant, diverse and robust community, members of the NOW Generation are building upon the rich tradition of volunteerism at CHQ. NOW Generation volunteer activities encompass a variety of capacities that best suit each member’s desires and are aligned with their interests, skills and talents, including:

  • Serving as a community ambassador
  • Assisting with events during the summer season
  • Organizing regional events during the off-season
  • Developing NOW Generation initiatives as a member of the Advisory Council
  • Marketing & public relations
  • Fundraising & development
  • Community planning & design
  • Networking & strategic collaborations

The strength of the NOW Generation lies in its members whose collective intelligence, wisdom and passion for excellence forms a vast network of peers to help each other become informed leaders and engaged citizens both at CHQ and in their home communities.

Benefits of Membership in the NOW Generation

  • Invitation to an annual President's Reception and other summer activities
  • Opportunities to attend regional events in various cities