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Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Sempre Always: The Campaign for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

February 2024

As the chair of SEMPRE ALWAYS: The Campaign for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, it is my pleasure to share an update about this vital initiative with you. Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA) family have joined together to make significant progress, and I am encouraged by supporters’ enthusiasm for the campaign’s four main pillars: achieving financial sustainability, sustaining musical excellence, expanding education and community engagement and strengthening Chicago’s cultural fabric. The commitment to the legacy of the CSO is apparent in every unique gift — each curated to support what is meaningful and inspirational to you. Every gift is important to the overall success of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for generations to come. On behalf of the CSOA Board of Trustees and leadership, thank you for your generosity.


Helen Zell Signature

Helen Zell

Helen Zell


$175 Million Goal

Violin with red filling indicating 80% toward $175 million goal

80% Raised

$140.3 Million Overall Total Raised | 145 Total Commitments
Endowment: $81.9 Million | Board-Directed Investments Fund: $58.4 Million
Over $70 Million received to date

Thanks to the generous financial support for SEMPRE ALWAYS, the CSOA was able to reduce its long-term debt by $14.8 million during the 2022/23 Season. 


As the 2023/24 Season continues, several unique projects have been underway to introduce the campaign to new audiences and encourage increased participation among the CSOA’s many affinity groups. This inspiring video, sharing the importance of sustaining musical excellence from Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians’ perspectives, expresses what your gift makes possible. Enjoy this heartfelt message of gratitude from your very own CSO musicians.

SEMPRE ALWAYS: Musical Excellence, Now and Always

You can also hear an introductory message from CSOA Board of Trustees Chair Mary Lou Gorno and learn what inspired several passionate campaign supporters to make a commitment to SEMPRE ALWAYS.


Civic Orchestra Chamber Access Fund


Created in 2022 by a generous gift toward SEMPRE ALWAYS from Judy and Scott McCue, the Civic Orchestra Chamber Access Fund supports the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and its programs involving chamber ensembles for Civic musicians, emphasizing the recruitment, training and encouragement of young BIPOC musicians.

This fund allows other donors to contribute to grow the overall impact of the fund’s purpose. Thank you to Neil and Karen Kawashima for also supporting the campaign through a commitment to the Civic Orchestra Chamber Access Fund.

Numerous endowment funds have been created through a gift to the SEMPRE ALWAYS campaign, each with unique purpose and intention. We look forward to highlighting the significant impact of these funds in future editions. 

Margo and Mike Oberman


An impactful gift toward the SEMPRE ALWAYS campaign from Margo and Michael Oberman created the Margo and Michael Oberman Community Access Fund. With a goal of making the CSO accessible to under-represented or other marginalized audiences, funds will support access to the CSO’s open rehearsals for senior citizens, veterans and other special groups.

Read an article detailing Margo and Michael’s commitment to the successful future of the CSO and highlighting Margo’s remarkable work with the League of the CSOA.

John Bruce Yeh playing clarinet


As a part of the SEMPRE ALWAYS campaign, the ambitious fundraising goal of $1 million for The Governing Members Chair is well underway. The inaugural holder of this sponsored chair will be Assistant Principal Clarinet John Bruce Yeh.

A special thank you to Governing Member Karen Zupko for making the first gift toward this initiative, which has encouraged and will continue to motivate other Governing Members to join alongside her generosity. 

Browse a full donor listing for SEMPRE ALWAYS.

Gifts to the SEMPRE ALWAYS campaign are unique in size, timeline, structure and purpose. To learn more, contact:

Al Andreychuk | AndreychukA@cso.org312-294-3150 | Contact Us

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Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association
220 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
Patron Services: 312-294-3000

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