Arrow Capital Management chief investment officer manager Alex von Furstenburg and the nonprofit Diller – von Furstenburg philanthropy group recently announced a donation of $50,000 to the Watts/Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club to sponsor a youth symphony orchestra program for underserved children in Los Angeles.
The money donated by the philanthropy group will be used to purchase violas, violins, basses and cellos for local disadvantaged children, and to fund lessons for the children by teachers trained in "El Sistema," an internationally recognized music education and outreach program in Venezuela.
"I feel strongly that during these difficult times we should be generous with our time and resources, particularly in areas like this that tend to be ignored for what seems like more urgent issues," said Alex von Furstenberg.
The foundation’s announcement followed a September meeting between Alex von Furstenburg and Watts/Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club executive director Les Jones that focused on the youth symphony group and its financial needs. Alex von Furstenburg reportedly pledged to donate $50,000 to the group before the end of the meeting.
"As important as it is to help them graduate from high school and go on to college, it is also important to provide them with access to cultural programs to which they have no access at all," said Jones.
The Watts/Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club Youth Symphony Orchestra held its first meeting for parents and children on December 9. Future events, including concerts, will be announced in the coming months.
School districts nationwide were forced to cut budgets over the past two years as the recession depressed local tax revenues. Cultural programs such as music education were often the first to receive cuts in funding. A number of low-income school districts do not even have music education programs.