News Release: Honoring Edith A. Reinhardt

It is with sadness, yet with gratitude and appreciation for her long life and all that she accomplished on behalf of others, that we lament the loss of our former leader, Edith A. Reinhardt. Edith was President of The Presser Foundation and her philanthropic work, particularly but not entirely, among music organizations is legendary. She was a bold leader who worked tirelessly on behalf of the arts and those less fortunate. In addition to The Presser Foundation she served many other nonprofits as a guiding spirit and board member. She was also justifiably proud of having broken barriers on behalf of women. Because of Edith’s zeal, dedication, and hard work, music education and performance in our city and the region was strengthened for all time, and we are grateful.

Obituary of Edith A. Reinhardt

Edith A. Reinhardt of Philadelphia died on Wednesday, September 16, at the age of 98 at Fair Acres Geriatric Center in Media, PA. Even though Edith had not been active in the arts community for several years, “it is not hyperbole to say that an era has passed with her and Philadelphia has lost a significant arts leader and philanthropist, as well as a trailblazing executive and, a great lady,” wrote David Hayes, former musical director of The Philadelphia Singers. David expressed the thoughts of many in saying: “Her loss will be felt as a chasm in the arts community.” Edith was born on April 29,1922, and grew up in Philadelphia with her sister and parents, Charles Reinhardt and Rebecca Gallagher. In her youth, she enjoyed social dancing and vacations to Atlantic City with her family. During World War II, having suffered the loss of a loved one in the Air Force, Edith began her service with the Red Cross. She would go on to serve as the President of the Philadelphia Red Cross. After receiving her undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, one of few women in her class, Edith began her career at Fidelity Bank and worked her way to being the first woman trust officer and a Senior Vice President of the bank. Having been a talented and aspiring opera singer, Edith expressed her love for the vocal arts through an unwavering commitment to strengthening music institutions in the greater Philadelphia area through her philanthropy and leadership. She was a benefactor, served on Boards, and held leadership positions at the Settlement Music School, the Academy of Vocal Arts, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Singers, Musical Fund Society, Chamber Music Society, Philadelphia Opera Company, and Darlington Arts Center. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Presser Foundation for decades—again, the first woman member—where she worked tirelessly to ensure the survival of myriad arts institutions in this role. She was also a pioneer for women in business and philanthropy in the Philadelphia region. Edith was known for finding time to mentor young professionals in their artistic, philanthropic, and business endeavors. She was a cheerleader, a counselor, and even a dispenser of tough love and reality when needed. Upon leaving Fidelity Bank in 1987, Edith co-founded the firm Hemmenway & Reinhardt, Inc. in Swarthmore, with her friend and business partner, Peter W. Hemmenway, specializing in non-profit planned giving services. In her free time, Edith enjoyed opera, the symphony, and theater, the company of her dear friends, and a good martini. Into her early 80’s, she kept up her family tradition of trips to Atlantic City, traveling there by train almost every weekend. Edith Reinhardt will be remembered for her grace, her generosity, and her indomitable spirit—like a beautiful piece of music sung from the soul. She is survived by the arts community that she nourished and her closest friends – Michael Palage, Diana and Michael Hemmenway. Memorial gifts may be made to the scholarship funds of Darlington Arts Center ( or Settlement Music School (

News Release: Next Movement: An Idea Forum

The COVID-19 pandemic forced music educating, music performingmusic presenting organizations to a temporary standstill, impacting an unprecedented number of people. The Presser Foundation and American Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter co-hosted five Idea Forums and invited colleagues to share thoughts about resilience, creativity, and programming during pandemic.


August 12, 2020 session featured representatives from Ars Nova Workshop and Lyric Fest. 

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook:

Ars Nova Workshop took stock of their assets – themselves, their community and surroundings (Woodlands cemetery in their neighborhood) as they rethought their purpose and content.   The organization pivoted using the beautiful, safe and iconic space as the center of context rich activities (like outside yoga to live music) and aimed to record, present, document and disseminate their performances quickly.  

Lyric Fest used the opportunity to learn new skills in technology and take advantage of a broader reach they didn’t have prior to the pandemic.  Their storytelling through song – Artsong was enhanced with creative visuals that resulted in short song movies which could be recorded and presented at watch parties.

August 13, 2020 session featured representatives from Play On Philly! and Settlement Music School

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook:

Play On Philly! was quick to refocus from replication to reimagination in their role of delivering music education and programming that was once centered around one-to-one intense daily instruction.  They included staff, teachers and families in information gathering on needs – instrument tuning, technology, commitment to practice time. Out of these discussions, POP Out of the Box and Virtual Summer emerged. Each 2-month long program provided imaginative, collaborative curriculum, with all stakeholders’ input considered in order to meet the needs of their families and community.  

Settlement Music School approached the pandemic with a focus on partnerships in a time of change by making informed and sensitive decisions. They used values-based responses with a focus on continual learning and a long-term approach to innovation (50/30/20 model). Their priority has been their staff, students and families, with a focus on equity and access.  Prior to the March 13th closure, a plan to go online was in the works and they were able to fairly easily mobilize staff of 170, create 20-person tech team, pick Skype for business for staff and families as a platform in a matter of days.  Communicate and often was their basic tenet and they were on an evolution to revolution.  Minimizing financial and technology barriers for families, as well as instrument needs (help from Jacobs Music), communicating and engaging with partners and colleagues was key.  Finding allies and resources (webinars and FB groups) who are also invested in the cause were some silver linings.   Collaboration has been essential and creativeness and responsiveness embedded in all they do.

August 14, 2020 session featured representatives from Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia and OperaDelaware

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook:

Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia 147th season, 112-person symphonic chorus with typical season of 3-4 concerts and 1-2 contracted performances had to pivot and consider when they could sing in person again.   Using core values like taking risks, respecting audiences, and powerful communal experiences, they developed 5 goals for the season.  With those in mind, MCC developed a season for in-person and if not.  The virtual season will include 3 virtual chorus projects, with some new commissions, 4 Big Sings, 5 Dialogues with Dominic discussions with composers as well as some member only programs like vocal check ins online, sing-a-longs and Mendel U education with deep dives into works.  If a vaccine is available and they are able to pivot back to in-person, they will be ready.  For now, the season’s goal is for community connection, building and engagement.  

OperaDelaware was heading into their 75th anniversary season and 2 weeks shy of hosting the start of their festival. There was much emotion after a successful previous and validation putting Wilmington on the map for opera in the region.  A simple act helped establish a toe hold back in the arts world and gave them hope.  One challenging task of sending an archival video led to thinking in terms of “what could we do” instead of “what we could not.”  Curbside pick-up of festival t-shirts with singing in the parking lot, led to Drive Through Arias that gave the artists purpose.  Alfresco Arias arose attracting new patrons allowing them to use using their outside space safely. They brought opera to the medical community at local hospitals and retirement facilities with the GrubHub of Opera – Pop-Up Opera – which also brought joy and hope to so many who have not been able to experience the art in some time.  All of this was a source of purpose and joy for those involved and the payoff off of the efforts was worth every ounce of sweat.  They hope to continue into the fall.   

August 19, 2020 session featured representatives from PYO Music Institute  and Wilmington Children’s Chorus

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook:

PYO Music Institute took on the daunting task of delivering music education virtually with no existing platform prior to the pandemic.  They found a lot of positives during times of struggle – small Zoom classes, teaching artists communicating more with students and families, and the creation of a technology hotline and how-to videos. Technology donations were received to help students. Master classes were presented on Zoom and access was given to alumni.  All of their efforts culminated in a 90-minute online Festival celebrating and properly closing the season. 

Wilmington Children’s Chorus is the only tuition free children’s chorus in the nation and has a mission to empower young people through their values of access, excellence, diversity and inclusion.  They foster these values, in their musical family, in all they do.  During the pandemic, they focused time on gathering research for safer group singing in order to keep their “family” safe.  Masking, distance, time limits, ventilation and hygiene all working together is best practice, but no “one size fits all” solution.  With safety in mind, but never a 0% chance of contracting COVID 19, they planned to move through readiness stages of prerecorded, “live” virtual, hybrid and in-person singing.  They hosted discussion forums along the way to understand each stage and the impact on programs.

August 21, 2020 session featured representatives from Tempesta di Mare and The Philadelphia Orchestra

Please click the link below to view the recording via Facebook:

Tempesta di Mare walked away from a trip of performances in Germany in early March and had to scramble to put together a 2020-21 Season with no virtual programming experience.  Since they did have a great video of their rehearsal before their trip, the first project was a Watch Party.  Since they were unhappy with the sound quality of the recording, they researched and found Vimeo.  They had a large amount of content that was on brand and that they wanted to share.  They realized virtual delivery was a wonderful connector, that broadened their reach and built on from their core audience. They created the Tempesta Talks series with archived material to bring people inside the music and process for active listening.  There is still much learning to be had, but results and feedback have been positive.  

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s  last in-person concert was recorded on March 12th and they have been on a journey to define the future as society is being reshaped.  They examined their priorities as an organization and their financial circumstances and realized the incredible force to keep moving forward and the power of working together.  It is from this place that The Virtual Philadelphia Orchestra was born.  Watch, listen and learn were the themes of their creative new programs.  LEARN reaches thousands of young musicians with online instruction.  Hear NOW at home gala provided the healing power of music delivered to hospitals for patients and caregivers. Hear TOGETHER provides a monthly discussion on racial inequality. IDEAS – The Philadelphia Way – is their data driven process for moving ahead with a plan and commitment to confronting crisis.  They launched Our World Now for the 2020-21 Season and the Digital Stage as a beacon to the future.  Taking it a few months at a time, with input from the medical community, the Orchestra is adjusting as needed to have most impact.  

News Release: The Presser Foundation Announces Over $1 Million in Advancement of Music Grants

The Presser Foundation Announces Over $1 Million in Advancement of Music Grants

The Presser Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of seventy-three new multi- and single-year grantees for Advancement of Music. These grants, totaling $823,500 are in addition to $205,000 in existing multi-year grants to seven outstanding music organizations.  Advancement of Music provides general operating support to music presenting, music performing and music education organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Area.

William B. McLaughlin, III, Chair of the Advancement of Music Committee, commented, “For the first time in an over one hundred-year history, The Presser Foundation has crossed the threshold of one million dollars in general operating support this fiscal year.  It is an honor to provide the largest round of critical funding totaling $1,028,500 to so many musical organizations in and around Philadelphia.  As our recently adopted operating values articulate – Music is our purpose. We are committed to supporting the future of music and its excellence.”

2019-20 Advancement of Music Grantees (in alphabetical order)

Academy of Vocal Arts
Allentown Symphony Association
Anna Crusis Women’s Choir
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Ars Nova Workshop
Artistas y Musicos Latino Americanos (AMLA)
Astral Artists, Inc.
Bay Atlantic Symphony, Inc.
Berks Youth Chorus
Bucks County Choral Society
Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey
Chamber Music Society of Bethlehem
Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
Chester Children’s Chorus
Choir School of Delaware
Choral Arts Philadelphia
CityFest, Inc./Wilmington Children’s Chorus
Commonwealth Youthchoirs
Community Conservatory
Community Music School Lehigh Valley
Community Music School of Collegeville
Community Youth Orchestra of Bucks County
Darlington Arts Center
Delaware County Youth Orchestra
Delaware Symphony Orchestra
Dolce Suono Ensemble
Friends of the Wanamaker Organ
Garden State Philharmonic Orchestra
Harrisburg Symphony Association
Kimmel Center, Inc.
Lancaster Symphony Orchestra
Lyra Society
Lyric Fest
Market Square Concerts
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
Moravian College
Music at Gretna, Inc.
Music for Everyone
Network for New Music
Opera Philadelphia
Orchestra 2001
Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale
Philadelphia Chamber Music Society
Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts
Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus
Philadelphia Sinfonia Association
Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
Piffaro, The Renaissance Band
Play On, Philly! (POP)
Princeton Symphony Orchestra
PRISM Quartet, Inc.
Project 440
Reading Symphony Orchestra
Riverside Symphonia
Settlement Music School
Singing City
State Theatre Regional Arts Center At New Brunswick Inc
Susquehanna Chorale
Symphony in C
Tempesta di Mare, Inc.
Temple University Music Preparatory Division
The Allentown Band
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem
The Crossing
The Friends of Chamber Music of Reading, Inc.
The Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music
The Mann Center for the Performing Arts 
The Music School of Delaware
The Philadelphia Orchestra 
The Princeton Festival 
Trenton Children’s Chorus, Inc.
Trenton Music Makers
Tri-County Concerts Association, Inc.

About The Presser Foundation

The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late Theodore Presser. It is one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy. The Presser Foundation supports a broad range of classical symphonic, chamber, choral and vocal music performance and education through general operating and program grants to music organizations; capital grants for music building projects; undergraduate and graduate student awards; and assistance to retired music teachers.  Much of the grant making focus of the Foundation is on organizations and institutions in the 75-mile radius surrounding Center City Philadelphia.  More information on the Foundation’s grant making activity can be found on its website

News Release: The Presser Foundation Announces Special Projects Grants

December 23, 2019 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The Presser Foundation is pleased to announce the selection and funding of fourteen new Special Projects from music organizations in the greater Philadelphia area. These grants, totaling $131,000, are in addition to a previous commitment of $20,000 to Settlement Music School on behalf of long-time and retiring Trustees. Peter Burwasser, Chair of the Special Projects Committee, commented “The Presser Foundation is pleased to support, under revised grant guidelines, special project grants including organization milestones, general operating support for new organizations to the Foundation, pilot programs and first-time artistic collaborations. Music curriculum development, anniversary performances, and unique partnerships comprise the list of projects supported.”

Special Project Grants: (in alphabetical order)

Allentown Symphony Association

Art Sphere, Inc.

Chester Children’s Chorus

Choir School of Delaware

Intercultural Journeys 

Mamadele Foundation

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus

The Dryden Ensemble

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts

Wilmington Concert Opera

Symphony in C

Variant 6

News Release: The Presser Foundation Announces Capital Support Grants

April 18, 2019 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– The Presser Foundation is pleased to announce the selection of grantees for Capital Support.  These grants, totaling $761,185 this fiscal year, include $445,000 in new commitments and $316,185 satisfying previous commitments.  These grants are designated for capital projects of music presenting, music performing and music education organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Capital projects typically include the construction of new facilities and the renovation or expansion of existing facilities.

Corey R. Smith, Chair of the Capital Support Committee,commented on these grants, “A community music school, two undergraduate schools of music, and a historic regional arts center comprise this year’s list of new grantees for Capital Support. Reflecting the spectrum of music organizations supported by The Presser Foundation, we congratulate them and are pleased to be associated with capital projects of such significance and impact.” 

2018-19 Capital Support Grantees (in alphabetical order)

Darlington Arts Center

Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation*

Kimmel Center, Inc., Academy of Music*


Rowan University Foundation

State Theatre Regional Arts Center at New Brunswick, Inc.

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts*

University of the Arts

*Previous Multi-Year Grantee

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