04/12/2020 - 15:15

WA Ballet reaches endowment fund target

04/12/2020 - 15:15

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West Australian Ballet has received $7.5 million in donations for its endowment fund, and announced it would name a studio after major donors the Wright Burt Foundation.

WA Ballet reaches endowment fund target
Aurélien Scannella acknowledged the efforts of the Wright Burt Foundation. Photo: Frances Andrijich

West Australian Ballet has received $7.5 million in donations for its endowment fund, and announced it would name a studio after major donors the Wright Burt Foundation.

The fund was launched in November 2019 with a $500,000 donation from the Wright Burt Foundation, run by Alexandra and Julian Burt, and a commitment to match donations from others to the value of $2 million.

At the time, a spokesperson from WA Ballet said this was the largest philanthropic donation ever gifted to the organisation. 

The deadline for matching contributions was June 30, 2020 but the foundation extended the deadline to December 31, 2020 due to the pandemic.

Over 130 donations were made, including $1.6 million from the Bendat Family Foundation to establish the fund and $500,000 from Dorothy Smith.

In a statement, WA Ballet said money in the endowment fund would be invested by a committee and dividends from the fund would be used to grow the organisation.

WA Ballet artistic director Aurélien Scannella acknowledged the efforts of the Wright Burt Foundation and Mrs Burt, who is the company’s patron of private giving.

Mr Scannella announced in honour of Mrs Burt’s contribution, the organisation would name the community-use studio at the West Australian Ballet Centre the Wright Burt Foundation Studio.

Mrs Burt said supporting the arts was important, particularly during post-pandemic times when many arts organisations were struggling.

“Our personal motivation for the matching gift was to not just help the company, but to also make this a very inclusive and attractive opportunity for everyone to participate, where gifts large or small would be joined and together, create a meaningful foundation for the future of this company we know and love,” Mrs Burt said.

“I love the arts and think that now more than ever we all appreciate how important the arts are.”

Mrs Burt was recently recognised by Creative Partnerships Australia with the National Emerging Philanthropist Award.

The Burt family has contributed to the ballet in the past, with Ms Burt's father Michael Wright given naming rights to a studio and her aunt Angela Bennett awarded naming rights for a greenroom in 2012.

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