Dayton Performing Arts Alliance:
A Collaboration of Minds, Businesses, and Artistic Visions

DAYTON, OH (July 9, 2012) – Following more than two years of due diligence, analysis, and planning the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera, and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra — Dayton’s three classical performing arts organizations — became a new, single entity on July 1, 2012: the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. While the organizations are now a single entity, the three performing arts units will continue the process of merging organizations, operationally.

“It took great foresight, courage, and leadership to engage in the complex due diligence process and pursue a common vision. We are thrilled with what this first-in-the-nation merger will mean for Greater Dayton,” Mike Parks, President of The Dayton Foundation, said. “The Dayton Ballet, Opera, and Philharmonic are integral to the cultural health of our community, and this merger, this act of renewal, energizes our culture for generations to come."

The Dayton Daily News called the merger, “…a new day for arts in Dayton.”

The organizations participated in a sound and thorough due diligence process in their approach to the merger:

  • In late 2010, the executive directors of the three organizations and their respective board Chairs met to determine if there was interest in creating one entity that would be stronger than the three separate organizations.
  • The next phase was dedicated to determining if a comprehensive partnership and merger plan could be developed. In January 2011, the Ballet, Opera, and Phil undertook a six-to-eight-month study that began to develop the business case and business plan for a potential merged organization. They engaged independent consultants from the Strategic Leadership Associates, Inc. (a consulting company specializing in strategic and sustainable organizational solutions) and The Dayton Foundation (an organization that assists other nonprofits through providing funding and strategic expertise) to assist the three organizations in the planning for the merger.
  • The arts organizations spent 16 months examining and planning for the merger. The Dayton Foundation assisted the organizations’ management and Boards with funds from the Nonprofit Alliance Support Program. In November 2011, the groups were notified of two special gifts that would be available, contingent on the merger taking place: $500,000 over two years from the Harry A. Toulmin, Jr., and Virginia B. Toulmin Fund of The Dayton Foundation and another $500,000 over two years from an anonymous donor, with a potential additional grant of $250,000 in year three.

The two new major grants will be used to help the Alliance manage costs associated with the merger itself, and will provide additional operating support for the first three years of operation, while economies of scale are realized. These grants will also, and perhaps most importantly, provide support for new artistic initiatives that are at the heart of this innovative merger plan.

  • In early February of 2012, the Merger Agreement was approved individually by each of the arts organization’s respective governing boards. In February and March of 2012, the Dayton Ballet and Dayton Opera associations’ membership, respectively and per those organizations’ by-laws, also approved the Merger.
  • As of July 1, 2012, the three organizations became a single entity. While the groups are legally merged, they will continue the process of merging organizations, operationally.

This process has helped to foster a foundation for collaborations, and thus an opportunity for exceptional artistic production and programming.

“It’s been a long journey to reach this point, and now the really important work begins,” said Paul Helfrich, former President of the Dayton Philharmonic and, now, President and Chief Executive Officer of the merged Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. “It’s very exciting to be breaking new ground in a way that we feel is destined for great success.  I’m humbled to work with the fantastic artists of the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera, and Dayton Philharmonic, especially our distinguished Artistic Directors Karen Russo BurkeThomas Bankston, and Neal Gittleman.  Together, we will build on this innovative partnership and do great things.”


About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents.   The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is also the proud recipient of a 2012-2013 season grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.



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Dayton Performing Arts Alliance