Community Foundation of St. Joseph County

Fischoff Wins 2014 Leighton Award

La Casa de Amistad and Downtown South Bend, Inc. receive Special Recognition awards

Peter Holland, Nancy King, Ann Divine, Rose Meissner, Tim Maher

The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County has named the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association, under the leadership of Executive Director Ann Divine, the winner of its 2014 Leighton Award for Nonprofit Excellence.

The Fischoff National Chamber Music Association has an outstanding track record of challenging and encouraging gifted young musicians with the world-class Fischoff Competition. The organization also introduces many of our community’s children to the joy of classical music through its Arts-in-Education Residencies.

In 1973, Joseph E. Fischoff and fellow members of the South Bend Chamber Music Society wanted to find an innovative way to encourage young people to pursue the study and performance of chamber music. They decided to host a competition. That first year, six ensembles participated. 

Forty years later, the Fischoff Competition has grown to become the largest chamber music competition in the world. Each May, an average of 125 ensembles from more than 20 countries compete for $24,000 in prize money and the tremendous professional opportunities that come with the “Winner’s Tour.”

In addition to the competition, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association has a year-round commitment to music education. In partnership with Fischoff Competition alumni, Fischoff brings free, innovative music programs directly to children in their schools and community centers. Known as the Fischoff Arts-in-Education Residencies, these programs have served more than 56,000 children in our community since 1995 and reach more than 6,000 underserved and at-risk young people every year. For many children, Fischoff’s programs are their first exposure to a live performance of classical music by professional musicians.

As this year’s Leighton Award winner, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association receives a $100,000 endowment challenge grant and must raise $100,000 in matching funds. The resulting $200,000 will be used to create or add to a fund in the Community Foundation for the benefit of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Association. The organization also receives an additional $10,000 to help cover the costs of any fundraising and communications associated with the match.

Also, the Community Foundation named two Special Recognition winners, each of which will receive an award of $10,000. Special Recognition awards are intended to encourage organizations that are pursuing higher degrees of excellence, recognizing inspiring examples of service and performance. 

The Community Foundation’s first 2014 Special Recognition Award goes to La Casa de Amistad in recognition of the successful programs it has developed and implemented on behalf of local Latino families over the past 40 years.

The Foundation’s second 2014 Special Recognition Award goes to Downtown South Bend, Inc., in recognition of the organization’s commitment to making downtown South Bend a more attractive, inviting community destination through its numerous public events, its support of local businesses and new business recruitment, and its “street-level” projects that enhance and strengthen our downtown. 

Established by Judd and Mary Lou Leighton and the Leighton-Oare Foundation in 1999, the Leighton Award encourages all of the community’s nonprofit organizations to pursue excellence at every level of their operations. Previous winners of this annual award include LOGAN (2000); Center for the Homeless (2001); South Bend Heritage Foundation (2002); REAL Services (2003); St. Joseph Health Center at Chapin Street (2004); Goodwill Industries of Michiana (2005); Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc. (2006); South Bend Civic Theatre (2007), the YWCA of St. Joseph County (2008), the St. Joseph County Public Library (2009), the Women’s Care Center (2010), Family & Children’s Center (2011), St. Margaret’s House (2012), and the Center for History (2013).