It is rare that in the course of our everyday actions we have the unique opportunity to so directly shape the life of a young person and to help propel his or her artistic future. And yet, that is precisely what a scholarship gift does.

The students who are enrolled in the Schools of Fine and Performing Arts provide the energy and vibrancy CHQ welcomes and celebrates each summer. Philanthropy makes possible the continued flow of fresh talent and creative vigor that is at the heart of the CHQ experience.

Currently, approximately 80% of the students enrolled at CHQ will receive financial aid with the average scholarship award covering about 68% of their overall cost to attend. The average cost of tuition, room and board–which varies slightly based on the program in which the student is enrolled–is approximately $4,500. It is an ongoing challenge to ensure that all students–regardless of their economic means–have the opportunity to study their craft and excel in their creative endeavors at CHQ.

Extraordinary talent and desire bear no relation to financial means. Countless CHQ dancers, musicians, actors, artists, and singers have come to study here from limited financial backgrounds, then have gone on to achieve prominence in their art forms. 


Audrey Corsa 2It’s rare in these recent years to come across a group of people, let alone an ENTIRE COMMUNITY of good hearted human beings who are willing and able to support the arts in such a giving manner. In these past weeks, I have been filled with such humility and struck by so strong a sense of altruism the likes of which I’ve never felt before.... Thank you with all my spirit, words aren’t enough.”

—Audrey Corsa, Chautauqua Theater Conservatory 


Chautauqua Foundation, Inc., is the principal organization responsible for the philanthropic funding of the Chautauqua Institution. In this role it will:

  • Develop and maintain programs, products and vehicles appropriate to the philanthropic needs of the Institution as determined by the Board of Trustees and the Administration.
  • Assure fiduciary care in the investment, custody and administration of funds raised.
  • Disburse funds to the Chautauqua Institution in compliance with the Chautauqua Foundation Articles of Incorporation and the requirements imposed by donors.
  • Develop and maintain a competent and active Board of Directors and other volunteers as appropriate.
  • Develop, maintain and direct a professional staff appropriate to carry out the above responsibilities.

In the discharge of its responsibilities, the Chautauqua Foundation will be guided by the Chautauqua Challenge as adopted by the Board of Trustees. The Foundation will be dedicated to quality and integrity in all of its internal and external relationships. The Foundation will anticipate and accept change while maintaining an understanding and appreciation of the history of the Chautauqua Institution in general and the Foundation in particular.


From 1933 to 1936, the future of Chautauqua Institution was at significant risk. As the United States' economy entered and remained in a great depression, visitors and gate revenues decreased at CHQ. Carrying significant debt from the expansion of program and facilities throughout the 1920's, CHQ faced forfeiture on its loans. CHQ entered receivership in December of 1933. Under the leadership of Samuel Hazlett and a number of other leading Chautauquans, the Chautauqua Reorganization Corporation, an independent corporation which sought to acquire all claims against the Institution, undertook an active fund raising effort.

Hazlett's efforts were ultimately successful and by the end of the 1936 season, the debt had been retired and CHQ was released from receivership. Those who had been central to CHQ's recovery agreed in early 1937, to create the Chautauqua Foundation, another separate organization. As opposed to the Reorganization Corporation's charge to retire debt, the Foundation would seek to build a permanent set of assets that could be used to support the future work of the Institution. In May of 1937, the Foundation was incorporated and in August of that summer, the first annual meeting of the membership was held. The members elected Walter Roberts President.

Accumulation of assets within the Foundation proved difficult initially. The Foundation did not hold $1,000,000 of endowment principal until 1958. It took another thirteen years to reach $2,000,000.

The assets of the Foundation began to grow more rapidly throughout the 1980's as CHQ undertook a series of comprehensive campaigns which asked for endowment and began to highlight the opportunities of giving through bequests and charitable life income trusts.

In 1991, the Foundation and Institution agreed that the Foundation would become responsible for all fund raising and the development staff and operations were transferred to the Foundation. In 2001, Thomas M. Becker became the first full-time chief executive officer of the Foundation. Prior to that time, the volunteer chairman of the Board of Directors served as President of the Foundation.




bonner DSC 9873Cathy Bonner, Chair
Austin, Texas

Director since: 2013
Committee membership: Development Council, Finance, Personnel, Investment, Executive Committee


anderson DSC 9843David Anderson
Hingham, Massachusetts

Director since: 2015
Committee membership: Development Council, Nominating & Governance, Investment



camden DSC 9891Andrew L. Camden
Grosse Point, Michigan

Director since: 2001
Committee membership: Investment, Executive Committee



connolly DSC 9824John H. Connolly, Jr., Vice Chair
Boynton Beach, Florida

Director since: 2003
Committee membership: Finance, Personnel, Executive Committee



fine DSC 9875Lauren Rich Fine
Shaker Heights, Ohio

Director since: 2006
Committee membership: Personnel, Investment



Gamble IMG 15181Charles S. Gamble
Dunedin, Florida

Director since: 2018
Committee membership: Finance, Investment



goodell DSC 9859Karen J. Goodell, Executive Vice Chair
New York, New York

Director since: 2001
Committee membership: Development Council (Chair), Nominating & Governance, Executive Committee


goodell billWilliam R. Goodell
San Francisco, California

Director since: 1994
Committee membership: Finance, Investment



haughton john 2014John Haughton
Buffalo, New York

Director since: 2017
Committee membership: Development Council, Nominating & Governance, Finance



MHill 2017 rd 2318Michael E. Hill, Chautauqua Institution president
Chautauqua, New York

Director since: 2017
Committee membership: Executive Committee



bill jamesWilliam M. James
New York, New York

Director since: 2013
Committee membership: Nominating & Governance (Chair), Executive Committee



milosJohn A. Milos
Orange Village, Ohio

Director since: 2016
Committee membership: Development Council, Personnel



murphy DSC 9864Susan Moran Murphy
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Director since: 1998
Committee membership: Audit, Investment



Anne Odland 100 3283Anne Odland
Washington, DC

Director since: 2014
Committee membership: Audit, Executive Committee



RenjilianTimothy Renjilian
Atlanta, Georgia

Director since: 2017
Committee membership: Audit, Investment



Sheila SchroederSheila Schroeder
San Francisco, California

Director since: 2017
Committee membership: Audit, Investment



snyder DSC 9836George T. Snyder
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Director since: 2013
Committee membership: Finance, Personnel (Chair), Executive Committee



WadeRichard Wade
Fountain Hills, Arizona

Director since: 2016
Committee membership: Finance, Personnel, Audit



zenzak DSC 9895Stephen J. Zenczak
Gates Mills, Ohio

Director since: 2007
Committee membership: Finance (Chair), Executive Committee



Legal Counsel: Samuel P. Price, Jamestown, New York

Institution Chair: Jim Pardo, Atlanta, Georgia

NOW Generation Representative: Katie Prechtl Cooke, Annapolis, Maryland



Cathy Bonner • Chair

Karen J. Goodell • Executive Vice Chair

John S. Connolly, Jr. • Vice Chair

George L. Follansbee, Jr. • Chief Executive Officer

Debbie Moore, CPA • Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer

Linda Jordan Loomis • Corporate Secretary

Former Directors

Wilson C. Price (1937-62) • Mrs. E.J. Bellinger (1937-63) • Mrs. L. D. Boal (1937-55) • Samuel M. Hazlett (1937-56) • James H. Matthews (1937-39) • Walter Roberts (1937-59) • David L. Starr (1937-51) • Mrs. Livingston Hunter (1939-41) • Mrs. Dorothy Smith (1943-50) • Walter F. Rittman (1950-54) • Harold F. Reed (1951-71) • Mrs. Walter F. Rittman (1955-64) • Paul N. Anderson (1955-65) • Walter C. Shaw, Jr. (1956-74) • John D. Hamilton (1959-71) • Samuel P. Price, Sr. (1962-95) • Mrs. Dorothy W. Cook (1964-87) • Lewis W. Morgan (1964-90) • Nancy Miller Arnn (1965-89) • Richard H. Miller (1971-95) • J. Donald Patton (1971-84) • Howard G. Gibbs (1974-90) • Oscar E. Remick (1975-76) • Robert S. Bargar (1976-94) • Mrs. Mary B. McDowell (1976-82) • John S. Rogers (1976-86) • David H. Carnahan (1976-2000) • George L. Cornell (1976-2001) • Joseph A. Neubauer (1977-83) • Robert R. Hesse (1978-83) • Richard L. Bechtolt (1982-2006) • Daniel L. Bratton (1983-2000) • Edward P. Boyle (1984-94) • Frank E. McElree, Jr. (1984-96) • H. David Faust (1986-88) • Mary Frances Cram (1987-93) • Robert B. Osburn (1989-96) • Harold F. Reed, Jr. (1989-2001) • Eugene S. Cohen (1990-98) • George L. Follansbee, Jr. (1990-2004) • Hal A. Fausnaugh (1990-94) • R. Quintus Anderson (1991-95) • William F. Hill, II (1991-2005) • Patricia Goldman (1992-2003) • Marilyn G. Levinson (1992-2000) • William H. Park (1993-2005) • William G. Karslake (1994-95) • James G. Groninger (1994-2014) • Thomas R. Bromeley (1995-2001) • vic gelb (1995-2011) • Selina P. Johnson (1996-2008) • Wilfred R. Konneker (1996-2006) • Lowell K. Strohl (1996-2010) • Miriam S. Reading (1997-2006)  • Martin Coyle (2000-2003) • Wendy Cohen (2001-2011) • Scott McVay (2001-2003) • Alan Short (2001-2005) • Fred C. Gregory (2004-2008) • John W. Burden, III (2005-2007) • Kathryn Lincoln (2005-2011) • Christopher Lytle (2005-2014) • I. Hale Oliver (2005-2013) • Steven W. Percy (2007-2015) • Char Fowler (2008-2012) • John A. Corry (2008-2013) • John E. Anderson (2008-2016) • P. James Brady (2015-2016) • Gary M. Brost (2010-2016) • John Kobacker (2011-2016) • Laura P. Currie (2012-2017) • Thomas B. Hagen (2011-2017)

Former Board Leadership

Walter Roberts (August 1937 to August 1957)

Harold F. Reed (August 1957 to August 1967)

John D. Hamilton (August 1967 to August 1971)

Richard H. Miller (August 1971 to August 1996)

William H. Hill (August 1996 to August 2002)

Lowell K. Strohl (August 2002 to August 2008)

Steven W. Percy (August 2008 to August 2015)

Committee Structure

The work of the Chautauqua Foundation is overseen by eight committees which are empowered by the full board of Directors to act on behalf of the board on select issues not reserved by the Board: Development Council, Executive, Finance, Audit, Investment, Nominating and Governance, Personnel, and Campaign Cabinet. With the exception of the Development Council, which is a joint committee with the Chautauqua Institution, each committee has a minimum of five voting members, and shall include the chairman, the vice-chairman most senior in service as a vice-chairman, the chief executive officer, the president of the Chautauqua Institution and additional members of the Board. The number of the additional members shall be determined, and shall be elected, by the Board. Meetings of any committee may be called by the chairman or by two members of the committee.


The Executive Committee is chaired by the Chairman of the Board, is empowered to act on behalf of the corporation in any matter when the board is not in session, except election of Directors and officers, appointment or termination of the CEO, or amendment to the by-laws, which powers shall be reserved for the full board.


The Audit Committee's responsibility lies in assisting the Board of Directors in fulfilling its responsibility to oversee managements conduct of financial reporting and disclosure, system of internal controls and compliance, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and the independent auditors qualifications, performance, and independence.


The Finance Committee is responsible for the review and oversight of the Foundation's audit and finance functions and related communications, and to recommend to the Foundation Board of Directors policies,  guidelines and objectives based on that review and oversight.


The Investment Committee recommends to the Board policies, guidelines, and objectives for the deployment of all the financial assets of the Foundation. The Committee will monitor this deployment on a continuing basis for consistency of investment philosophy, return relative to objectives, investment risk, and the performance of the Foundation's financial advisors.


The Personnel Committee recommends personnel policies to the Board and monitors the execution thereof. The committee specifically audits the implementation of the performance appraisal systems and personnel policies, assists the Board in setting the goals for and reviewing the performance of the Foundation's CEO, serves as an appeal and review board for Foundation personnel aggrieved by personnel actions of the CEO, and reviews the personnel policies of the Foundation to assure that these policies are consistent with the Institutions personnel policies.


The Nominating and Governance Committee is a standing committee of the Chautauqua Foundation, Inc. charged with ensuring the effective recruitment and performance of the Foundation's Board of Directors and governance of the Foundation. The recruiting objective requires the committee to assess on a continuing basis the skills and characteristics needed on the board, assemble, maintain, evaluate, and amend a list of potential candidates for nomination, maintain contact with the Nominating Committee of the Board of Trustees, increase the knowledge base about and cultivate potential candidates, provide appropriate information and motivation to those requested to consider nomination for election, nominate candidates to the membership for election and terms of office, and ensure an appropriate orientation process.


The Development Council is a standing committee of both the Chautauqua Foundation Board of Directors and the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees and serves as the primary interface between the two organizations on the issue of philanthropy. Its role is to discuss, evaluate, and recommend policies and actions to the Chautauqua Foundation and Institution boards on all matters affecting the philanthropic development of CHQ.


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.

geof signature
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

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