Robertson Foundation a faithful supporter of concert

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2011

By Joanie Morris
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY — When Julian and Blanche Robertson set up the Robertson Family Foundation, it was with the intent to provide the community with a quality of life they may not otherwise have access to.
Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz calls it a blessing.
“The Robertson Family Foundation has done so much for the city,” she said. “We will always be indebted to Julian Robertson and the foundation he put together.”
Kluttz added that gifts from the foundation don’t have strings attached that sometimes come with things funded by the government. For that reason, as well as the entertainment residents get from the foundations gifts, Kluttz can’t say enough nice things about its recent gift of $10,000 for next year’s Pops at the Post concert.
David Setzer, with the foundation, said one of the reasons the foundation approved the grant so far in advance was because the board that reviews grant requests won’t be meeting again until next May.
“We are a big fan of the project, so we try to make a decision on it a year ahead, so they will have our commitment already there,” said Setzer.
However, the foundation normally donates $5,000 to the concert. Next year’s gift is double that. Setzer said the concert committee asked the foundation to step into a larger sponsorship role and the board readily agreed.
“We do a number of things for the symphony,” added Setzer. “We’ve been supporting the symphony since we’ve been in business (1998). We’ve done musical education, helped with the youth orchestra, and bought a timpani drum set the symphony uses.”
In addition, the foundation also helps fund summer strings camps, the N.C. Symphony concerts that play to area fifth graders and after-school strings.
“They are great concerts and it’s a fabulous orchestra,” said Setzer, when asked about the foundation’s continued support of the Pops at the Post. “We’re delighted to help with that. …
“It’s a great coming together of the community,” said Setzer. “You see folks from all over the county sitting in their lawn chairs, on their blankets and in the back of their cars enjoying the music. They stay ’til the bitter end.”
The ability of the organization to make grants available for education and entertainment in the community has enabled a number of organizations to do things that they normally would not have been able to do, he added. Special projects, helping with facilities and programming are only a few of the ways grants can help.
The Pops concert would normally cost between $40,000 and $50,000 to operate yearly. Salisbury Symphony Executive Director Linda Jones has been amazed at the community support.
“We could not do it without funding from the individuals and organizations that support it,” said Jones. “We are in debt to the community for supporting it. Now the community is paying for it, and that is fabulous.”
“It’s unbelievable,” added Kluttz, the Salisbury mayor. “Fundraising is a difficult thing to do today. … We are grateful for every size contribution. That’s the beautiful thing about this concert. People and businesses and foundations give what they feel they can afford to give. It’s pretty incredible to me when you look at the list of sponsors to see how many people and businesses and foundations actually support it. I think that says a lot about Salisbury and who we are as a city.”
Presenting sponsors for this year’s concert are Jim and Gerry Hurley and The Salisbury Post. Platinum sponsors are the Robertson Family Foundation, Food Lion, F&M Bank and Fred and Alice Stanback. Diamond sponsor is the Salisbury Tourism & Cultural Development Commission. Gold sponsors include Rowan Regional Medical Center and Duke Energy. Silver sponsors are Caniche, Cloninger Ford-Toyota, First Bank, Tom and Martha Smith, Trinity Oaks, Wachovia and Bank of North Carolina. Patron sponsors are BB&T, Community Bank of Rowan, Community One Bank, KKA Architecture, Bill and Nancy Stanback, Stout Heating & Air Conditioning, Taylor Clay Products, Bill and Rosemary Hall, Sun Trust Bank and Ramsay, Burgin and Smith. In kind donations are provided by Miller David Agency, the city of Salisbury and Downtown Salisbury Inc.
Joanie Morris is a freelance writer. She can be reached at 704-797-4248 or