Roberta Bialek Elliott has given $4.5 million, to be used any way the Festival sees fit. Elliott is the sister of Berkshire Hathaway magnate Warren Buffett.
Paul Christy, acting executive director for the festival, said the gift was meant to ensure that OSF’s artistic work is matched by its operational capacity.
“We’ve grown extraordinarily over the last 10 years — by some measures we’ve doubled in size and budget,” Christy said. “We haven’t always matched that growth with structures underneath.”
The festival said it plans to spend the money over three years, boosting marketing, technology and human resources.
“We’re ready for anything this summer,” Christy said.
OSF is on the cusp of a major leadership transition, with Artistic Director Bill Rauch leaving this summer. Christy said Elliott enjoyed close ties with Rauch as he brought the company into new commissions and outreach programs.
Nataki Garrett, Rauch’s successor, arrives in August.