Named after the year of the Institution's founding, The 1874 Society recognizes donors who generously honor CHQ's legacy with leadership gifts to the annual fund in the amount of $1,874 - $3,499. Gifts of this level are critical to supporting the depth and quality of programming that are enjoyed each season and help to close the gap between earned revenues and that which must be subsidized by philanthropy. With ticket sales covering approximately 60% of the cost of underwriting the CHQ experience, this Society applauds the value in keeping prices affordable for families. The collective giving of the philanthropic leaders who make up The 1874 Society inspires other Chautauquans to similar acts of generosity, and enriches the experiences of every member of this beloved community.

Benefits of Membership in The 1874 Society

  • Invitation to luncheon with select lecturer
  • Invitations to special tours and/or events hosted by CHQ's artistic directors or leadership
  • Opportunity to attend select events with program leadership during season
  • Complimentary subscription to PILLARS, a semi-annual publication for community leaders

Enriching Lives, Deepening Conversations

The Bestor Society is a community of Chautauqua's closest friends whose generous leadership support plays an instrumental role in advancing the work of Chautauqua Institution. Members enjoy unparalleled access to Institution programs, most notably exclusive receptions and luncheons with program leadership, the multi-day Scholar in Residence intensive, and other gatherings during the season and throughout the year. Those who wish to engage deeper in Chautauqua's work are encouraged to join.

Bestor Society members are committed to active engagement in Chautauqua's programs, serve as advocates and ambassadors, and help sustain the Institution's mission by amplifying our work for greater impact in shaping a better tomorrow. 

Membership provides important, unrestricted support that advances all facets of the Institution's work. Members understand the importance of curating artistic expression, the value of assembly to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and the engagement with others to convene probing conversations on important issues of the day.

Join the Bestor Society to advance and expand the work of Chautauqua Institution. Your support is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Benefits of Bestor Society Membership

  • Invitation to the annual President's Address
  • Invitation to the Scholar-in-Residence Program
  • Opportunity for invitation to select event(s) at the President's Cottage
  • Invitations to special tours and/or events hosted by CHQ's artistic directors or leadership 
  • Complimentary subscription to PILLARS, a semi-annual publication for community leaders
  • Invitation to luncheon with select lecturer ($5,000+)

Arthur E. Bestor

Arthur E. Bestor's presidency of Chautauqua from 1915 to 1944 saw the Institution through an astonishing period of achievement and growth. Under his leadership the Institution surmounted difficulties experienced by a country during two world wars and a great depression. He realized that while persistence may have achieved his dreams, only passion would sustain them. Maintaining Chautauqua's programming, which had achieved world acclaim, would require ongoing devotion and support. More than 70 years later, the society that bears his name also shares his passion for maintaining Chautauqua's greatness. Today's builders... today's visionaries... those who care deeply about furthering the Institution's stability... form Chautauqua's Bestor Society.

Leadership Giving

While gifts of any amount are most welcome and deeply appreciated, leadership giving is a wonderful way to help sustain the delivery of the Chautauqua experience at the highest quality.


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Presidents Club $3,500+ 
Sponsor Club $5,000+
Patron Club $10,000+
Benefactor Club $25,000+

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$1,874 to $3,499

The Chautauqua Foundation welcomes gifts that celebrate relationships and our connections with others. Gifts commemorating special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and weddings are deeply appreciated. Remembering someone who loved CHQ can also be done meaningfully and in a way that is appropriate to the person to whom you wish to pay tribute.

If you would like to honor or recognize a friend or family member, there are numerous ways to do so. A popular means of celebrating the life of another is to make a gift to the Chautauqua Fund. Establishing an endowed scholarship, lectureship, chaplaincy, or other endowment opportunity offers a thoughtful way to remember a loved one in perpetuity.


Chautauqua Institution represents many things to many people. It is a venue for diverse performances, a retreat for reflection, a vibrant outlet for the arts, a hub of education, an inventive forum for debate, and much more....

Above all, it is a community! Although the unique pieces which together make up this community are constantly evolving, its constancy is rooted in the interconnectedness of its members and a kindred belief in what brings us together. On the shores of Chautauqua Lake, the Institution comes alive each summer. Over the course of nine weeks more than 100,000 visitors become members of this community, carrying the spirit of CHQ with them when they leave.

The unique sense of community that is present at CHQ can seem magical, but it is only with the very intentional and generous encouragement of its members that it flourishes. Active engagement, particularly through volunteerism and philanthropy, reinforces the easily identified pillars of CHQ's mission-the Arts, Education, Religion and Recreation-and the overarching spirit of community which cannot be seen but, rather, felt.


bestor society logo with wordsBestor Society

The Bestor Society recognizes those whose leadership gifts to the annual fund of $3,500 or more help sustain the delivery of the entire CHQ experience and inspire others to acts of similar generosity.

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logo 1874

1874 Society

The 1874 Society recognizes donors who generously honor CHQ's legacy with leadership gifts to the annual fund in the amount of $1,874 - $3,499.

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belltowersociety logoBell Tower Society

The Bell Tower Society has been established to recognize those who make a monthly recurring gift to the Chautauqua Fund, providing consistent and sustainable support.

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daugherty logoDaugherty Society

By making a planned gift to Chautauqua Foundation, Inc., you are entitled to become a member of the Eleanor B. Daugherty Society, a group of Chautauquans who have included Chautauqua Foundation in their will or other estate plans.

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foundation logo smThe Foundation

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, and anyone who has made gifts to the Foundation that in the aggregate exceed $1,000.

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logo now genNOW Generation

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.

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MillerCircleLogoLewis Miller Circle

The Lewis Miller Circle recognizes members of the NOW Generation whose leadership gifts to the annual fund of $250 or more help sustain the delivery of the entire Chautauqua experience, and inspire others to join them in similar acts of generosity.

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A matching gift is a donation from the company you work for—or have retired from—to a charitable organization of your designation. An increasing number of companies are offering matching gifts for both employees and retirees, investing in their philanthropic interests. Each company varies in policy, as well as by their percentage of a match.  Utilizing a matching gift is a significant and easy way to maximize the impact of your generosity. To see if your company has a matching gift program, check with your employer’s Human Resource/Personnel office or type in the company name at to access instructions for participating corporations.  Make your gift count even more.... Inspire a corporate matching gift!