Bestor Society membership giving typically comprises approximately three-quarters of Chautauqua's annual philanthropic support. This group of invested Chautauquans plays an instrumental role in advancing the world of the Institution, enabling Chautauqua to advance its mission by funding unparalleled programming through world renowned thought leaders, educators and artistic performances each year.

Enriching Lives, Deepening Conversations

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.

Benefits of Membership

Members of the Bestor Society 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. 

  • 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 Chautauqua's artistic directors or leadership 
  • Invitation to luncheon with featured program participant 
  • NEW Bestor Society members also enjoy invitation to a reception honoring new leadership donors and receive a welcome basket upon arrival at Chautauqua

Benefits of Patron Club Membership

  • Enjoy the benefits of Bestor Society membership, AND invitation to a special dinner and/or intimate dialogues in private homes with program participants

Benefits of Benefactor Club Membership

  • Enjoy the benefits of Patron Club-level Bestor Society membership, AND invitation to a private luncheon with the Institution's president

Benefits of President's Circle Membership

  • Enjoy the benefits of Benefactor Club-level Bestor Society membership, AND selection of a complimentary copy of a CLSC book of their choosing from the current year's featured titles

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 and to more deeply engage with the program and community.


 bestor society logo with words

Sponsor Club $5,000+
Patron Club $10,000+
Benefactor Club $25,000+
President's Circle $50,000+



Arthur E. Bestor

Arthur E. Bestor's Chautauqua presidency 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 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 75 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.