By now, you’ve likely heard about the generous gift given to the Delaware Symphony Orchestra in the name of outgoing executive director Lucinda Williams. If not, here it is in a nutshell: Avid arts supporter Tatiana Copeland made a surprise $1 million donation to DSO’s endowment during the symphony’s annual meeting in June.
That’s a million smackeroos that double the organization’s endowment. Needless to say, Williams, who is leaving DSO after four and a half years, was shocked. “Holy cow!” she says. “I was completely speechless. I was absolutely floored.”
Williams says Copeland, with whom she is close, had hinted that she might make a donation. “She told me she was going to do a gift to honor and celebrate my work at the symphony,” Williams says. “So I was thinking $200,000.”
DSO’s board and staff also honored Williams by creating a fund with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in her name and that of her grandson, Lucien, 2, who has battled diabetes since birth. One reason Williams is leaving DSO is to help her grandson get better.
“There were two moments that night that I felt out of my body,” Williams says. “There’s no better way for the board and staff to recognize a mere 4 ½ years of work. I was hovering above everyone in the room. It was a dear diary kind of night.”
As for Mrs. Copeland? “She’s a friend to the arts organizations, but first and foremost—she’s a friend,” Williams says. “She’s got a heart of gold.” —Drew Ostroski