December 5, 2022

CIM receives unprecedented $2 million gift from Kulas Foundation

The front facade of the Cleveland Institute of Music, showing the name Mixon Hall

One of the closest relationships in Cleveland arts funding history was renewed Monday by a major grant from the Kulas Foundation to the Cleveland Institute of Music.  

With its unprecedented multi-year commitment of $2 million, a foundation synonymous with music in Greater Cleveland reinvested in the iconic hall that bears its founders’ names and demonstrated afresh its endorsement of CIM as a pillar of musical life and education in the region.  

“We cannot fully express our gratitude to the Kulas Foundation for this new commitment and tremendous legacy of support for CIM over generations,” said Bonnie Cook (BM ’77), secretary of CIM’s Board of Trustees and chair of the Kulas Hall Renovation Task Force.  

“What we can do is celebrate the honored place Kulas Hall holds at CIM. Kulas Hall has been and will remain the heart of this school, a venue in demand by our students and the broader community alike.”  

Monday’s $2 million commitment from the Kulas Foundation consists of two elements: a one-time, $1 million leadership gift and a pledge of $150,000 in annual operating support for seven years.  

Taken together, the new commitment pushes CIM’s ongoing Second Century Campaign to $23 million and bolsters the renovation of Kulas Hall which will get underway in the 2023-24 school year, the most important undertaking in CIM’s current strategic plan. It is the largest show of support to CIM from the Kulas Foundation, an organization long associated with musical excellence and closely intertwined with CIM almost from day one. 

Since its founding in 1937 by Cleveland industrialist Elroy Kulas and his music-loving wife Fynette Hill Kulas, the Kulas Foundation has contributed to every major campaign at CIM and supported every facet of the school. Today, in addition to the hall, in use at CIM some 90 percent of the time, the Kulas name at CIM graces a distinguished faculty chair, the Visiting Artist Series and a trust fund established in 1957. 

It also figures prominently around Northeast Ohio, linked inextricably to the region’s highest-achieving musical organizations. In addition to driving CIM to be one of the nation’s top independent conservatories, the Kulas Foundation has for decades generously supported The Cleveland Orchestra, The Music Settlement and several colleges and universities, as well as music therapy research.  

“Wherever music is made or taught at a world-class level, that’s where the Kulas Foundation wants to be,” said Nancy McCann, president of the Kulas Foundation. “I’m proud to see our foundation extending its long legacy of support for CIM and contributing to a fixture in Cleveland’s cultural community in such a meaningful way.”