$17 Million Ensures That Curtain Doesn’t Close On Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Zell Family Foundation has recently made a donation of $17 Million to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra which marks one of the largest single gift amounts ever donated to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Zell Foundation’s $17 million gift is helping the association establish in perpetuity its first named music director in CSO history.

What’s the Reason Behind This Large Donation?

For starters, Sam and Helen Zell have been financial supporters of the CSO for more than a decade, underwriting concerts and programs. Furthermore, as Sam Zell (who is now 72 and estimated to be worth $4.5 Billion by Forbes) and his wife Helen start to age, they have begun to hit the prime time for their donations to start hitting new levels.

Another reason that we can assume was a key factor in the Zell family’s decision to make the large contribution was the fact that, as we can see via the relationship map below provided by Prospect Visual, Helen Zell is extremely well connected to many members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors and Trustees.

Zell foundation and CSO



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