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Orlando Ballet Announces Major Milestone Along with Sustainability Campaign November 20, 2019 |

Orlando Ballet announced a momentous $1 million gift from board members Krista and Jonathan Ledden and new sustainability campaign.

November 14, 2019, (ORLANDO, Fla.) —Orlando Ballet announced a momentous $1 million gift from board members Krista and Jonathan Ledden that has brought their total Orlando Ballet contributions to $2 million dollars in support. The organization also announced a new sustainability campaign, Elevate Orlando Ballet, which will continue Orlando Ballet’s financial stability, growth, and support of its mission as it prepares to move into its state-of-the-art facility, Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre. The campaign also includes permanent naming opportunities at the ballet’s new home for major donors who participate in the new sustainability campaign.

The Leddens’ $1 million gift will be distributed over five years, kicking off the Elevate Orlando Ballet campaign goal of raising $12 million. Multiyear gifts are a major focus of the ballet’s development strategy to keep on its path of financial stability and secure long-term funding that will go toward operating costs of Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre, grow its annual operating budget and bring world-class ballet productions to Orlando that often require years of advance notice and planning.

Orlando Ballet’s positive financial standing and overall strength as an organization is a direct result of the hands-on leadership of the Leddens, and the couple’s support of Orlando Ballet goes well beyond financial contributions. Jonathan led the charge to develop and execute Orlando Ballet’s Long Range Plan, to ensure the organization’s future success. Through fulfillment of the plan, the ballet company has seen record-breaking ticket sales, positive cash flow and a significant expansion of community enrichment programs. 

A former professional dancer, Krista teaches BeMoved® classes that allow anyone interested in dance, regardless of experience or age, the opportunity to participate. Krista’s time teaching adults and teens at both Orlando Ballet campuses is on a volunteer basis, and the BeMoved® class fees are donated directly back to Orlando Ballet. She also serves on the Orlando Ballet School committee and chairs the development committee of the board of directors. Jonathan serves as the board president and in 2017 stepped up as Orlando Ballet’s interim executive director without financial compensation to allow time for a national talent search.

In 2018, the Leddens encouraged community giving and led a multiyear gift match challenge that resulted in more than 70 individuals, corporations and private foundations participating in creating a substantial funding base for Orlando Ballet.

The new Elevate Orlando Ballet sustainability campaign is designed to underscore this giving strategy and encourage the Central Florida community to invest in the future of the arts. Sustained giving at any level allows for Orlando Ballet to secure more long-term artistic opportunities, set the organization up for continued strategic growth, and expand community enrichment programs, such as Scholarship Training for the Enrichment of Primary Students (STEPS), which has grown exponentially the past two seasons.

Due to Krista and Jonathan’s phenomenal commitment of time, energy and talent, in addition to incredible financial contributions, Orlando Ballet extended a major naming opportunity to the Ledden family. The Leddens have opted to wait on making their naming choice to encourage the community to join them in supporting the sustainability campaign, and for fellow donors to have as many naming opportunities available as possible. Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre was fully funded at the start of construction, thanks to philanthropist and arts advocate Harriett Lake, as well as community support including Orange County and City of Orlando. Many unique permanent naming opportunities are available to the public including the great hall auditorium, Orlando Ballet School, and more. Typically, permanent naming opportunities are required to help fund construction and will instead allow Orlando Ballet to focus on future artistic endeavors.

“On behalf of everyone at Orlando Ballet, we are beyond grateful for the leadership and support of Krista and Jonathan Ledden who continue to so selflessly invest in Orlando Ballet,” said executive director Shane Jewell. “The Leddens’ generosity is so profound, it’s hard to quantify the depth of the long-lasting positive contributions they have made to Orlando Ballet. Their passion and commitment have lifted Orlando Ballet to an unprecedented level of excellence and their remarkable contributions will leave a lasting impact on the organization for years to come.”

“Krista and I are honored to give back to Orlando Ballet and believe that support for the arts is critical; we are not only investing in Orlando Ballet’s mission, but the longevity of the talented professional dancers, students and staff who are performing at a caliber higher than ever before,” said Orlando Ballet board president Jonathan Ledden. “While Orlando Ballet is incredibly fortunate to have had Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre fully funded at the start of construction, the community’s support in sustained giving is still vital for our long-term artistic and financial success. Krista and I hope to set an example for our fellow donors in the Orlando community, and look forward to being a part of the thriving, exciting future of Orlando Ballet.”

Later this month, Orlando Ballet will move into Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre located in Loch Haven Cultural Park, an epicenter of arts and culture in Orlando. The brand new facility will reunite the company, school, administrative offices, and wardrobe department under one roof. Larger studios and a great hall multipurpose auditorium will allow Orlando Ballet to prepare more high-quality performances and expand class offerings and community outreach while operating more cost efficiently. Orlando Ballet School students will move into the new facility January 2020 after winter break to join the rest of the organization.