Imagine Your Grand Tomorrow


The Grand Opera House is a historic and beautiful performing arts venue with unmatched acoustics and architecture that serves as a symbol of the arts and culture in Delaware.

In the last three years, The Grand Opera House has undertaken an energetic transformation by diversifying its programming, reducing operational costs, and strengthening relationships within the arts community. To assist in these measures and establish a strong foundation for future success, The Grand has undertaken a capital campaign seeking to raise $10 million.

Building upon new artistic programming and improved operational efficiency, the campaign will place The Grand on a sustainable course by supporting four key pillars of the historic building and its resident organizations: experience, community, venue, and future.

Campaign chairman Brian DiSabatino discusses "Imagine Your Grand Tomorrow" on Comcast Newsmakers:

Please watch the following video for more information on the campaign:

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A Grand Experience

_DSC6151.jpgThe Grand offers its patrons a unique entertainment experiences unmatched by other performing arts organizations, both on and off the stage. Exciting community events, arts education opportunities, and diverse performances are available to The Grand’s audiences year-round.

In addition to its main stage and baby grand artist series, The Grand features “Stage of Discovery” school matinees, Summer Children’s Theater, the Summer Salon Series on Market Street, “In the Spotlight” talent competition, the Arts Academy at The Grand, DanceWorks, and interaction with artists in master classes and workshops. 

A Grand Community

_DSC5447.jpgThe Grand enhances the quality of life in the region and contributes to a thriving downtown Wilmington. Patrons, volunteers, a dedicated staff, Board of Directors, and Trustees ably support The Grand’s educational outreach programs and partner arts organizations. The Grand and its fellow creative community strive on a daily basis to enrich the lives of the people around them, including the over 150,000 patrons, students, and theatergoers who visit every year.

Arts partnerships include:

  • Christina Cultural Arts Center
  • Arden Concert Gild
  • Jewish Federation of Delaware
  • Green Willow Folk Club
  • Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education
  • City of Wilmington, Office of Cultural Affairs
  • Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music
  • Bengali Association of the Delaware Valley
  • Delaware Symphony Orchestra
  • The New Candlelight Theatre
  • OperaDelaware
  • First State Ballet Theatre
  • Wilmington Children’s Chorus

A Grand Venue

_DSC3723.jpgThe Grand is one of Delaware’s most popular and celebrated venues. Between its resident performing companies, local events, and rentals, the building hosts more than 300 events a year, and brings more than 150,000 people into downtown Wilmington. Accessible, historic, and culturally unique, the venue plays host to a variety of public events and activities and provides a welcoming atmosphere for all who visit.

In addition to the celebrated 1200-seat opera house, The Grand offers a 300-seat modern theater, the baby grand, housed in the Edith and Alexander F. Giacco Building. This versatile hub hosts many of The Grand’s community engagement and service programs, and is home to elegant public rental spaces, offices, classrooms, and teaching studios.

A Grand Future

_DSC5414.jpgThe Grand is positioning itself to celebrate the richness and diversity of Delaware’s arts community for years to come. Expanding its season, enriching community programs, and developing green technology will aid The Grand’s viability and move the venue towards a more sustainable future. By offering more frequent and diverse artistic programming, innovative arts experiences for children, family, and schools, and life-long learning through the arts, The Grand acts as a social hub for the entire region and enhances the community’s experience with the arts. 

Creative Ways to Give

As The Grand works to secure its place as the center of performing arts in the region, it is important that our friends understand the many ways they can help to financially support the organization. Brief descriptions of these options are listed below, and staff will be happy to provide you or your financial or estate advisor with more details. All of these options provide tax benefits for the donor, and support for The Grand’s future.

For further information, you may contact the Director of Development, Shondell Ayala at (302) 658.7897 or

Contributions of cash or stock provide an immediate tax benefit for the donor and immediate support for The Grand’s campaign. These gifts can be designated for either endowment or capital if the donor wishes. Checks should note Imagine Your Grand Tomorrow in the memo section.

You can use appreciated stock which has been held for more than one year to increase your income and save taxes at the same time, since you will be entitled to deduct the current value of the stock without paying capital gains tax on the appreciated portion. If you prefer to give appreciated stock, please contact David Fleming, Director of Development, for specific instructions. It is important that we know to expect these gifts. For more information.
The cornerstone of an estate plan is your will or revocable trust. By providing a bequest in your will or a provision in your trust to benefit The Grand, you can make a significant gift that will benefit The Grand for years to come while providing tax advantages to your estate. Often donors will name The Grand Opera House as the beneficiary of a portion of their estate or the recepient of funds after named individuals have received their inheritance. This remains the most common form of planned giving due to its simplicty and the donor’s ability to make changes at any given time. For more information.

By using a charitable life income plan such as a Charitable Remainder Trust or a Charitable Gift Annuity you can avoid capital gains tax, get a significant current income tax deduction, save estate taxes, increase your income, diversify your portfolio and make a significant gift to The Grand. You can deduct the full fair market value of the stock on the date of the gift. You are also not taxed on the capital gains that would have been taxed if you sold the stock yourself. The Grand’s Director of Development will be happy to work with you and your financial or estate planner on such a gift. For more information.

Currently, persons at least 70 ½ years of age may take advantage of a temporary law permitting required annual distributions of up to $100,000 from their retirement accounts to be given directly to charity. Under this provision, the distributions are not included in the taxpayers’ adjusted gross income (AGI), and the taxpayer does not pay taxes on them as they would otherwise. For more information, please contact Todd Flubacher, Chairman of our Legacy Gifts Committee, and partner at Morris, Nichols, Arsht and Tunnel.

Life insurance is an advantageous way to fund an endowment. A donation can be created through small premium payments thereby leveraging your dollars to create a significant gift while enjoying the deduction for the amount of the premium payments. You can also gift an existing policy and enjoy a tax deducation for the cash value of the policy.

Real estate can be given to The Grand in ways that afford you many benefits. You can donate real estate during your lifetime to The Grand either as an outright gift or to fund a charitable remainder trust. The property is transferred to The Grand by deed, and is subsequently sold. The proceeds are used to establish a permanent endowment fund or create a charitable remainder trust where applicable. Along with the immediate income tax deduction this can eliminate the issue of capital gains on the appreciated value of the real estate, or remove the property from your estate. Thre are also options for donating real estate yet retaining the right to live in the property for the rest of your life or a defined period of time.

A Charitable Lead Trust is an excellent way to make a charitable gift to The Grand while retaining the asset or to transfer property to a younger generation at a significantly reduced gift or estate tax cost. It is a trust which pays income to The Grand for a fixed number of years. At the end of the term, the trust assets pass outright to your designees, which can be children, grandchildren or yourself. 

A Charitable Remainder trust is a trust to which you make a gift and retain an income interest. Income can be paid to you and your loved ones for life, or for a specified number of years, after which The Grand receives the remaining trust assets. You receive an immediate tax deducation on a percentage of the gift. A Charitable Remainder Trust can be created by you during your lifetime or included in your will or revocable trust to take effect at your death for the benefit of others. By using appreciated assets such as real estate or stocks you will avoid the capital gains tax otherwise paid if you sold the asset yourself.

This information is offered with the understanding that The Grand is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, please seek the services of a professional.

Make a Gift Today!

Become a part of the growing community support for the Imagine Your Grand Tomorrow campaign - download the pledge form at the right and mail it today to the address below. Gifts and pledges of cash, securities, personal property, real estate, and retirement account funds are all welcome.

If you have questions about ways to support the campaign, and recognition opportunities, or for assistance in making your gift, please contact:

Shondell Ayala, Director of Development

302-658-7897 ext. 3100

Meredith Mitchell, Donor Relations Manager

302-658-7897 ext. 3302


Meredith Mitchell
  • Director of Development