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 Chautauqua with them when they leave.

The unique sense of community that is present at Chautauqua 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 Chautauqua'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 $5,000 or more help sustain the delivery of the entire Chautauqua experience and inspire others to acts of similar generosity.

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1874 Society

The 1874 Society recognizes donors who generously honor Chautauqua's legacy with leadership gifts to the annual fund in the amount of $1,874–$4,999.

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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 membership in 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 Chautauqua 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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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.



The key attributes of unspecified and other forms of endowment are permanence, in the form of resources secured and stewarded for the perpetual benefit of Chautauqua; predictability, that is, the one financial resource in the annual budgeting exercise that can be known in advance of the conduct of the program; and either flexibility or certainty. Flexibility is gained to the degree that resources are not dedicated to a specific, narrowly defined application and, thus, they recognize and enable essential creativity. Certainty is attained in the case of intentionally specific applications of endowments (for facilities or scholarships, for example) to an area deemed a permanent commitment.


There could be no clearer or more affirming signal of your commitment to this special place than with a gift of unspecified endowment. For most Chautauquans, the totality of the experience means soaking in all that CHQ has to offer—a wide breadth of programs, a beautiful setting, and a community of people that collectively create CHQ. Affirming the totality of CHQ, recognizing that indeed, as a whole is worth more than the sum of its parts, is the message of unspecified endowment.

Supporting unspecified endowment recognizes that every aspect of CHQ must be tended to, that the CHQ we leave behind for the generations that follow must be one that celebrates all the ways we affirm the living of lives that contribute to society's well-being. It is hard to imagine how the country and the world will change in the next fifty or one-hundred years. CHQ will need to adapt to those changes if it is to continue to contribute to the exploration of the best of human values. The one resource that will best allow us to do so is unspecified endowment.

Recognition Opportunities

CHQ provides recognition opportunities for restricted gifts that create endowments or term funds. Recognition is associated with endowed funds as long as the endowments exist, and with term funds until they are completely expended. Named gifts may be used to recognize the donor, memorialize a loved one, or honor a friend, while supporting a worthy purpose of your choice – whether for scholarships to outstanding students, for the lecture platform, in support of the religion department, for Chautauqua’s Schools of Fine and Performing Arts, in support of the grounds including buildings and gardens or other programs.

Endowment Management

The Foundation's Investment Committee oversees the policies, strategies and performance of invested assets. For funds held in perpetuity, our belief is that good long term investment performance, in terms of both risk and return, is dependent on prudent asset allocation among appropriate classes of assets and diversification within individual classes. The overall objective of the Foundation investment program is to maintain and grow the real, inflation-adjusted, value of endowment assets while providing a predictable and growing stream of support to the Institution.

As long-term investors, the Foundation allocates 80% of its invested assets to equity or equity surrogates; the balance is held in fixed income investments. The equity allocation contains allocations to both hedge funds and private equity.

The Foundation retains Hirtle, Callaghan & Co., Inc. of West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, as Chief Investment Officer to direct this process. Hirtle, Callaghan is responsible for the selection of individual money managers except the allocations to Blackstone Alternative Asset Management's Park Fund and to Pointer Management, two distinct fund of hedge funds.

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!


Chautauqua is privileged to have the support of community partners who make possible maintaining the standard of excellence for programming which is the hallmark of the CHQ experience. Without the philanthropic assistance provided by corporate sponsorships, CHQ would be unable to present the artistic and cultural programming that so enriches the quality of life in this region.

Every effort is made to tailor sponsorships so they meet the specific desires of community partners. By offering diverse forms of promotion—which vary according to the desired level of visibility and a partner’s general needs or expectations—there is an intrinsic flexibility with sponsorship opportunities. Examples include sponsoring a lecture (including the highly visible 10:45 am lectures featuring renowned speakers), a symphony performance, a weekly lecture series, or an Amphitheater special event.

Popular evening shows in the Amphitheater, alone, have included often sold-out performances by Sheryl Crow, Jay Leno, The Beach Boys, Garrison Keillor, The Avett Brothers, and other top entertainers. Reserved seating is provided for community partners, their clients, and/or employees plus a limited number of free and/or reduced price tickets, and the group receives a special escort to the Amphitheater prior to the event. Some sponsors also elect to host a private reception at the Athenaeum Hotel before the performance.