St. Louis Symphony seeks to hire pro, boost funding

ST. LOUIS: The St. Louis Symphony, in the midst of a dollars 100 million fund-raising campaign, is searching for a new PR director to keep the organization in the media spotlight.

ST. LOUIS: The St. Louis Symphony, in the midst of a dollars 100 million fund-raising campaign, is searching for a new PR director to keep the organization in the media spotlight.

ST. LOUIS: The St. Louis Symphony, in the midst of a dollars 100

million fund-raising campaign, is searching for a new PR director to

keep the organization in the media spotlight.



The new PR director will be charged with continuing a major media

relations push that has seen the symphony’s endowment campaign covered

by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Business Journal and The

Riverfront Times. A major component of the job will be ’maintaining the

media’s trust and confidence. They’ve been fair and accurate in coverage

of our fund-raising plans,’ said present PR director Susan Sherman, who

is leaving the organization on Wednesday for family reasons.



The change in PR directors comes at a critical time for the St. Louis

Symphony, regarded as one of the country’s finest. The organization,

which also runs a 4,000-student music school and a major community

outreach program sponsoring more than 400 events a year, is facing a

dollars 3.5 million budget deficit this year.



The symphony’s existing endowment stands at dollars 28 million, with a

goal of raising dollars 100 million in new funds by 2005. The

organization has already nabbed a dollars 2.5 million challenge grant

from the Ford Foundation - a development that garnered front-page

coverage in the Post-Dispatch earlier this month - and its chairwoman,

Virginia Weldon, grabbed headlines by personally donating dollars 1

million to the campaign.



While the symphony has received pro bono PR help from Fleishman-Hillard

and Shandwick, it does not have an agency of record and has not

seriously considered hiring one, Sherman said. The marketing

department’s annual PR budget is roughly dollars 360,000 and the

director position is slated to pay dollars 55,000.



The symphony is looking for someone with experience in the arts world as

well as media-relations savvy. But Sherman suggested that candidates

with corporate or agency experience might be considered if they can

demonstrate ’a sensitivity to the organization and its key

constituents.’



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