3Transformational Gifts Build a Foundation for MOT’s Next 50 - Detroit Opera

3Transformational Gifts Build a Foundation for MOT’s Next 50

You may have recently read in the news of three extraordinary grant awards Michigan Opera Theatre received in support of artistic work, audience growth, general operations, and the Capital Campaign for the Detroit Opera House. These generous contributions are an investment in the new work MOT is undertaking to create innovative opera productions, engage our Detroit community in more meaningful ways, and continue its role as an anchor arts organization in downtown Detroit.


It is with deep appreciation that we recognize and thank the following foundations for their transformational grant awards.


The William Davidson Foundation granted MOT’s largest single gift commitment in its history! This $5,000,000 gift will be paid out over two seasons and will go toward infrastructure upgrades to make the aging Detroit Opera House more accessible along with artistic programming. $3,000,000, allocated to the Capital Campaign, will be put toward significant infrastructure updates to the Opera House, including a new elevator tower that will provide access to all six levels of the building, an upgraded HVAC system, additional ADA-compliant restroom facilities and auditorium upgrades. The remaining $2,000,000 is allocated to support artistic programming during the 2021–2022 and 2022–2023 seasons.


The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation made a multi-million-dollar commitment to arts and culture organizations in Detroit by awarding nine-year annual operating grants to twenty-four organizations and establishing a new endowment at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan that will provide permanent operational funding to the same twenty-four arts organizations after the endowment matures in ten years. The Wilson Foundation has made this investment for the critical role the arts and culture organizations play as economic drivers. Michigan Opera Theatre is proud to be recognized by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation 

for the role it plays in the regional economy with an award of $200,000 in each of the next nine years.


The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to be paid over two years in support of Yuval Sharon’s artistic vision for innovative opera productions to attract new audiences and in support of MOT’s work to strengthen earned and contributed revenue.



These one-time transformation grants could not come at a more important time as MOT is working, as all arts organizations are, to emerge from the pandemic and resume operations at pre-pandemic levels. Importantly, we want to stress that you – our individual donors and ticket buyers – continue to be critical to all we do. Your ongoing support is important to MOT and further leverages these incredible grant awards.

For further reading about these awards in the news:


William Davidson Foundation

Broadway World

Yahoo News

Crain's Detroit

Detroit News

D Business


Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

Associated Press

Chronicle of Philanthropy

Philanthropy Digest

Detroit Free Press

D Business

Model D


Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation

Crain’s Detroit Business

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