Detroit’s nonprofit Sphinx Organization announced Thursday morning that it’s received the largest gift in its 17-year history — $4 million from an anonymous donor.
The donation will enable Sphinx to expand its educational and training programs, said executive and artistic director Afa S. Dworkin. Sphinx’s mission is to get black and Latino youngsters involved in classical music and beyond at the highest levels.
“Our legacy and focus has been in classical music,” Dworkin said, “though in the past several years we’ve expanded our scope to the performing arts in general.”
The annual Sphinx Competition at Detroit’s Orchestra Hall is one of the country’s most-prestigious contests for young string players, with five-digit scholarships and performance opportunities going to the winners.
One immediate consequence of the $4 million gift is that Sphinx’s budget will grow by about a third this year, from $3.4 million in 2013 to $4.6 million.
Dworkin’s husband, Aaron, who won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2005 and serves on President Obama’s National Council on the Arts, founded Sphinx in 1996 with an emphasis on orchestral performance. He still serves as the organization’s president.