An Inspired Choice: Endow a Chair or Named Fund at the Symphony!


three men playing trumpets

What favorite instrument would inspire you to endow a chair? What piece of music would move you to endow a named fund?

Did an image or energizing rhythm come to mind? By endowing a chair or named fund at the Symphony, your connection to what moves you—and the Symphony—will endure beyond your lifetime.

Sue Robertson and Penelope Clark are two Symphony patrons who have made that connection and created endowed chairs. They chose to have their gifts honor the memories of loved ones who have passed away.

In Honor of a Symphony Leader
For Sue, the most fitting way to honor her late husband, Lawrence Metcalf, was to name a string bass chair in his memory. Lawrence served as Symphony president from 1974 to 1980. He also oversaw the construction of Davies Symphony Hall and played a major role in establishing the SFS Youth Orchestra.

"I think he was a great leader, and he always made people feel important," Sue says.

Sue created the Lawrence Metcalf Second Century Chair. The gift is matched 50 cents on the dollar by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Section String Fund.

Sue's love for the Symphony began before she was a teenager. Her mother provided the introduction, and then Sue seized opportunities to attend via her private school growing up and later as a student at University of California, Berkeley. She took advantage of the Symphony's Student Forum, which offers affordable tickets to college students. Interestingly, Lawrence helped start the Forum when he studied at Berkeley.

Sue, who spent her career as an avid community volunteer, still attends the Symphony as a part-time San Francisco dweller. At age 88, she has been attending the Symphony for more than 70 years.

"The Symphony's always been one of my favorite charitable organizations," she says. "I hope other people decide to fund chairs. It's very gratifying."

Paying Tribute to a Family Tradition
Like Sue, Penelope Clark's love of the Symphony began at a young age. She grew up in Wisconsin listening to classical music in her ballet lessons and when her mother played the piano. A family tradition began when her parents took her and her sister to the Chicago Symphony a few times a year as a treat.

"It was a family thing as long as I can remember," Penelope says.

When Penelope moved to California to attend Stanford University, she attended the San Francisco Symphony by purchasing tickets the same way Sue did—through the Symphony's discounted ticket program for college students, a program that continues to this day.

Penelope's parents joined her in San Francisco after college and her mother became involved with the Symphony as well. When her mother fell ill, her father created the Catherine and Russell Clark Associate Principal Flute Chair.

After her parents passed away, Penelope continued her family's involvement with the Symphony.

Inspired by her family's legacy, Penelope found the proposition of establishing a chair with a testamentary pledge and gift from her estate appealing because she could use her illiquid property assets as well as annual contributions toward this extraordinary gift. Her gift endows a chair for her favorite instrument, the cello, and is also matched 50 cents on the dollar by the Goldman Section String Fund.

"I was delighted to discover that I could endow a chair using assets from my estate and still take advantage of the match from the Goldman Fund," she says. "Since I don't have limitless assets, having matching funds is a great way to make this gift happen."

Interested in endowing a chair? Contact David Zhang, J.D. at 415-503-5445 or dzhang@sfsymphony.org to learn more.