PLATINUM2023

Indiana Symphony Society Inc.

aka Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra   |   Indianapolis, IN   |  https://www.indianapolissymphony.org/

Mission

The mission of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is to inspire, entertain, educate and challenge through innovative programs and symphonic music performed at the highest artistic level.

Ruling year info

1998

Chief Executive Officer

Mr. James M. Johnson

Main address

32 E. Washington St., Ste. 600

Indianapolis, IN 46204 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

35-0998627

NTEE code info

Symphony Orchestras (A69)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

As the largest performing arts organization in Indiana, the ISO performs approximately 170 concerts annually that engage more than 280,000 patrons, and provides a variety of educational programs to nearly 50,000 K-12 students. The ISO employs 74 musicians and three conductors, thereby offering full-time employment to more artists than any organization in the state. Our musicians are among the best in the classical music industry; they are also active members of the local community, participating in civic activities, mentoring young musicians, and more. The ISO believes that great symphonic music is an essential element of a vibrant community, thus our community engagement initiatives serve a wide variety of patrons both onsite at the Hilbert Circle Theatre for concerts and events and offsite at community partner locations. The ISO is committed to the accessibility of the arts for all, and we have intentionally implemented programs that are free or low cost to patrons.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Classical Series

The Classical Series continues to be the flagship concert series of the ISO. Led by Music Director Krzysztof Urbański, the series blends the stalwart classics that our audience anticipates with neglected and new works that strengthen the ISO’s musicianship and spark the interests of listeners.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Printing Partners Pop Series, under the leadership of Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, brings the talent of acclaimed Broadway artists to television music competition winners to the Hilbert Circle Theatre. The series celebrates a diverse mix of music, ranging from beloved showtunes to modern film scores.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Kroger Symphony on the Prairie, held at the Conner Prairie Amphitheatre stage, offers a variety of sounds to delight music-lovers of all tastes. The summer series continues to offer families a casual outdoor concert atmosphere and a wide variety of musical genres, from classical to rock. An outstanding lineup of classical music played by the ISO, including the popular Star Spangled Symphony concerts over the Fourth of July weekend, is interspersed with powerhouse performances by some of today’s most popular musicians and cover bands.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The ISO's flagship educational program, the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (MYO), offers music instruction and on-going mentoring to engage underserved youth in Indianapolis in activities that discourage at-risk behaviors. The MYO program also provides family support services to promote the health and well-being of the whole student. Parents/guardians are encouraged to rehearse and perform with their children, but also have access to family counseling and financial advice.

Population(s) Served
Students
Families

• The Teddy Bear Series is an early childhood music education program that integrates live music, storytelling, and creative movement. Based on one of four unique stories written by ISO violinist Victoria Griswold, each Teddy Bear Series performance features five ISO musicians and narration by Perry Accetturo, Program and Communications Manager of the Learning Community. The audience is invited to act out the story and respond with creative movement to the sounds of the music. Teddy Bear Series performances are held at public libraries and preschools.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Families

• The Discovery Concerts Series provides professional development to upper elementary classroom teachers and opportunity for their students to experience a live symphonic performance. Unique to the program are 1) the teacher training in arts integration and 2) accompanying curricular materials that help prepare students to experience a short, 45-minute concert at Hilbert Circle Theatre.

Population(s) Served
Students

More than 1,000 talented Central Indiana students have had the unique opportunity to share the stage of the historic Hilbert Circle Theatre with their professional counterparts since Side-by-Side began in 1991. Students are auditioned and coached by members of the ISO. The result is a spectacular concert featuring the 100+ piece orchestra of students and professionals—a tremendously rewarding experience for the Symphony musicians, the students, and the audience.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

Symphony in Color is an annual enrichment program presented by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Association that offers a unique blending of symphonic music and visual arts. Five classical works are chosen from the current ISO concert season. While listening to the repertoire with their classroom teachers, students create their own works of visual art, inspired by the music they hear. Symphony in Color culminates in a juried exhibition at the Hilbert Circle Theatre and the Indiana State Museum. One hundred finalists and 36 blue ribbon winners are selected from the tens of thousands of artworks entered.

Population(s) Served
Students

We are excited to bring you the exciting and creative musical fusions from creator Steve Hackman through our new Uncharted Series. A symphonic experience unlike any other. Combining a classical artist with a pop artist. Some titles include, Beethoven to Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar x Stravinsky.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adolescents

Experience the quintessential Hoosier holiday tradition, AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration! "The real holiday magic of Yuletide is two, not very well-kept secrets: the musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the community's love for this Holiday tradition. Neither could exist without the other. I am honored to be one of the representatives of something so special in the hearts, ears and traditions of Indiana."

Maestro Jack Everly

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of performances

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Total number of periodical subscribers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of professional artists employed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

In 2015, a task force composed of ISO Board members, senior staff, and musicians embarked on a strategic planning process led by consultant Tim Gallagher, President of Portola Advisors. Based on data analysis, stakeholder interviews, and industry knowledge, the task force charted three major pillars plus a foundational base as the ISO’s strategic priorities for the next five years:
Pillar 1 - A New Level of Relationship: initiatives to grow our donor base and to increase the conversion of subscribers to donors
Pillar 2 - Energizing Our Classical Music Audience: initiatives to energize our core classical patron base
Pillar 3 - Kroger Symphony on the Prairie: strategic investment in the patron experience at our summer concert series
Foundational Base - Ensuring the Foundation for Our Future Success: objectives that prioritize artistic success and financial stability

At the annual Board and Senior Management Team Retreat in March 2019, Gallagher oversaw several focused discussions that aligned with the three original pillars but also outlined additional pillars for the coming fiscal year 2020, the final year of the five-year strategic plan. These included:
Pillar 1 - Energizing Our Classical Music Audience: focus on visual storytelling by creating a range of videos to be shared with patrons online and during concerts (e.g., at intermission)
Pillar 2 - Diversity: focus on internal capacity building and equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts
Pillar 3 - Kroger Symphony on the Prairie: continue to shift programming toward higher-draw artists and strengthen relationship with Conner Prairie, including a longer-term contract and co-investment in the venue
Pillar 4 - Planned Giving: increase planned giving with a dedicated Development officer and continued investment in prospecting data to refine solicitation priorities
Pillar 5 - Additional Opportunities: Hilbert Circle Theatre renovation

Strategies for Pillar 1: Our aims are to create a welcoming atmosphere at our concerts and eliminate any perceived barriers that might exist among patrons who would like to know classical music better. One way we have started to effectively integrate compelling visual storytelling with live symphonic performance is through our Discovery Concert Series for elementary students. Prior to each "From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond"-themed concert, as students file into the hall, trivia questions based on general music education and basic scientific knowledge are presented on a large, overhead screen. As the concert begins, the projection launches into historical footage of the lunar landing accompanied by voiceover describing the significance of the event. The video provides a visual complement to the live performance and helps young students—who are much more familiar with and accustomed to digital images than classical music—to participate more fully in the concert experience.

Strategies for Pillar 2 : For the past year and a half, the ISO has focused intently on advancing our own understanding of what equity, diversity, and inclusion mean, not only in the context of our classical community but also in our Indianapolis community, and how these concepts might transform our day-to-day practices. Through preliminary internal discussions, to the formation of a Diversity Task Force, to the cancellation of our annual Celebration of Black History Concert, and, most recently, to the hiring of an equity, diversity, and inclusion consultant, we have used a racial equity lens to identify and lay the groundwork to address disparities within our organization.

Strategies for Pillar 3: The summer concert series has evolved in its 38-year history to include a broad spectrum of musical entertainment, attracting audiences of all ages to the casual outdoor atmosphere of Conner Prairie. For the 2019 summer season, the ISO focused on enhancements to the concert atmosphere, including the addition of three large digital screens and the creation of a reserved seating area for select concerts for patrons wanting a more exclusive experience near the stage. We also programmed more unique and popular artists, ranging from Broadway’s Rock of Ages Band to Motown legend Smokey Robinson, and increased the number of concert dates to more than 30 different programs.

Strategies for Pillar 4:

Strategies for Pillar 5:

The ISO is governed by a 48-member volunteer Board of Directors, not including the ISO Chief Executive Officer and ISO Association President, that acts as the policy-making body, handles legal and fiduciary duties, and helps guide the direction of the organization. Under current Chair Yvonne H. Shaheen, the ISO Board prioritizes a membership of dedicated professionals with diverse backgrounds, talents, perspectives, cultural identities and experiences who care about the organization and its mission. There are two Board appointments—an Indianapolis Public School appointee and mayoral appointee—that help amplify the voices of the communities we serve. These appointees bring to the Board a unique mix of experiences and perspectives, and their participation ensures that the ISO will continue striving to enrich the lives of Indianapolis residents young and old.

The ISO’s Senior Management team is led by Chief Executive Officer James M. Johnson. The team consists of eight additional leaders who represent the Marketing, Development, Communications, Artistic, Operations, Learning Community, Finance, and Human Resources departments. Together, this team leads a staff of 54 full-time and 27 part-time administrative employees who oversee all activities of the organization both on- and off-stage.

Additional capabilities/resources for Pillar 1: A Classical Music Task Force, composed of 20 Board members, staff, and musicians was created to plan for a long-term strategic way to grow the audience for the ISO’s classical music concerts by making the promotion and experience of these concerts fundamentally more attractive and energizing for the audience. Their focus encompasses three interrelated areas: how our classical music concerts are marketed, programmed, and presented.

Additional capabilities/resources for Pillar 2: A Diversity Task Force composed of 18 Board members, staff, and musicians was created to plan for a long-term strategic way to manage, integrate, and sustain efforts to promote equity, diversity, and inclusivity within the ISO’s artistic and educational programming, employment practices, and overall organizational structure. We have contracted with Jessica Schmidt, Principle Consultant at Orchestrate Inclusion, to advise the ISO in efforts to build strategies toward greater equity, diversity, and inclusion within our organization.

Additional capabilities/resources for Pillar 3: The ISO recently received a grant from Lilly Endowment to engage in a brand research initiative of Symphony on the Prairie. In spring 2020, we will commence a contract with Ellen Browning Design & Associates to assess 1) renaming the series to better align with the audience experience of a broad spectrum of musical entertainment, 2) the value in patrons’ minds of what is currently provided, and 3) what would be helpful to patrons to best assist them in further engaging and supporting the ISO.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback

Financials

Indiana Symphony Society Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Indiana Symphony Society Inc.

Board of directors
as of 08/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Greg Loewen

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/5/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/05/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.