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Jeffrey Harris and Joyce Pratt, Philanthropists of the Year

Jeffrey Harris and Joyce Pratt are ensuring a future for the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and future musicians. The long-time Annapolis philanthropists, who have given more than $3.7 million in charitable donations, recently committed $1 million to launch the ASO's Sounds of Impact Campaign, which has already generated donations and pledges totaling more than $3 million. However, their gifts go beyond financial, said ASO Executive Director Edgar Herrera who explained that the philanthropists worked with key members of the ASO leadership team to craft a strategy for achieving the ASO's goal to be a premier 21st century American orchestra.

“They served as a sounding board to hone the symphony's thinking and convert ideas into actionable goals,” said Edgar. “They were tough, but fair taskmasters and the result is a strategy that will propel the symphony forward artistically and educationally.”

Many others echo Edgar’s thoughts about Joyce and Jeff, including Joe Rubino, Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. Naval Academy, who has known the couple for 10 years. “The leadership of Jeff and Joyce has been truly transformative for ASO,” he said. “This engaging philanthropic couple have almost single handedly ensured ongoing regional strength in performing arts, which will benefit the entire Anne Arundel community.”

Three years ago, Jeff and Joyce also provided seed money to create a business plan for the ASO’s newly envisioned Annapolis Symphony Academy. The Academy’s mission was “change lives by providing a high-level musical education to students of all cultural and economic backgrounds, while addressing the under-representation of minority musicians in the classical music field.”

“Jeff and Joyce believed in the Academy's mission,” said Joe. “They also knew that the board needed a solid business plan to help convince them to launch this ambitious program. They gave seed money to create the business plan which converted doubters into believers. It also persuaded a lead donor to give the money to fund the first five years of operation. This investment continues to attract substantial donations that are allowing the Academy to expand even more rapidly than originally planned, opening new doors and changing young lives.”

Netanel Draiblate, Founder and Director, Annapolis Symphony Academy & Concertmaster, couldn’t agree more: “Joyce and Jeff imagined a bold future in which the Academy would become an important instrument to create more diverse orchestras on stage thereby attracting more diverse audiences,” he said.

Jeff and Joyce also support many other organizations, locally and nationally, including Live Arts Maryland, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Anne Arundel Medical Center, the American Heart Association, the Chesapeake Legal Alliance, and Jeff’s alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology. “Jeff and Joyce have cut a wide swath on the philanthropic landscape,” said Edgar. “Their $3.7 million in gifts to education, the arts, and science touches many lives and provides opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to achieve their dreams. They have clearly demonstrated their commitment to our community through their strategic vision for the future and philanthropy to enable it.”


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