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Esther Simplot creates a $3 million endowment for the arts

Esther Simplot with performers from Ballet Idaho, Boise Philharmonic and Opera Idaho. Photo courtesy of Idaho Community Foundation.

Esther Simplot with performers from Ballet Idaho, Boise Philharmonic and Opera Idaho. Photo courtesy of Idaho Community Foundation.

Local arts patron Esther Simplot has established a $3 million endowed fund that will provide about $45,000 a year each to the Boise Philharmonic, Ballet Idaho and Opera Idaho.

The Pauline Becker and Dorothy Simplot Memorial Endowment Fund was placed at the Idaho Community Foundation to permanently fund the three organizations.

“Giving to my art organizations is my way of thanking them for all the hard work they have done,” Simplot said in a prepared statement. “It’s a way of letting them know that I do appreciate the giant strides they have made and that everyone – from the performers to the administrative people – has contributed to this success.”

A prior $1.1 million endowment in 1992 from Esther and J.R. Simplot established the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy, home of the opera, philharmonic and ballet.

“Opera Idaho wouldn’t exist without her continuous and generous support,” said Mark Junkert, general director of Opera Idaho. “This gift will sustain us into the future.”

“Mrs. Simplot’s passionate and steadfast belief in the arts has inspired Boise to reach new heights,” said Peter Anastos, artistic director of Ballet Idaho. “Ballet Idaho is very grateful for this endowment, which will insure us a reliable source of support always.”

About Teya Vitu

Teya Vitu is an Idaho Business Review reporter, covering commercial real estate, construction, transportation and whatever else may intrigue him in the moment. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_TeyaVitu.