Orlando Ballet Board Members Receive Prestigious Award for Outstanding Philanthropy

Krista and Jonathan Ledden were recently awarded the Kenneth F. Murrah, Esq. Award for Outstanding Philanthropist, and will be recognized at the Central Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ annual National Philanthropy Day event on November 6, 2019. Criteria for this prestigious award includes exceptional generosity with financial resources, time and talent, as well as dynamic leadership that encourages others to take up their own philanthropic efforts.

In the five short years since the Leddens moved to Central Florida, they have generously invested in the community they now call home. The Leddens have donated more than one million dollars to Orlando Ballet over the last two years alone, and have also provided substantial philanthropic support for other organizations such as Orlando Health, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Orlando, and Central Florida Community Arts, among others.

“Krista and I believe the performing arts are essential to building a thriving community,” said Orlando Ballet board president, Jonathan Ledden. “Central Florida is flourishing, and building sustainable arts organizations is essential to attracting new businesses and enriching all our lives. We are honored to receive this award and hope to inspire others to invest in their community and their passions.”

Orlando Ballet’s positive financial standing and overall strength as an organization is a direct result of the hands-on leadership of the Leddens. Jonathan led the charge to develop and execute Orlando Ballet’s Long Range Plan, to ensure the organization’s financial and artistic success. Through fulfillment of the plan, the ballet company has seen record-breaking ticket sales, positive cash flow and a significant expansion of community enrichment programs. In 2018, the Leddens encouraged community giving and led a multi-year gift match challenge that resulted in more than 70 individuals, corporations and private foundations participating and creating a substantial funding base for Orlando Ballet.

A former professional dancer with Twyla Tharp Dance and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Krista teaches a full schedule of BeMoved classes that allow anyone interested in dance – regardless of previous dance experience or movement abilities – to participate. She is a certified BeMoved instructor and her time teaching adults and teens at both the Orlando Ballet South and Central campuses is strictly on a volunteer basis and the full amount of all BeMoved class fees are donated directly to Orlando Ballet. She also serves on the Orlando Ballet School committee and chairs the development committee of the board of directors. Jonathan serves as the board president, and in 2017 stepped up as Orlando Ballet’s interim executive director, without financial compensation, while the company conducted a national search resulting in the hiring of Shane Jewell.

Krista and Jonathan’s efforts have served Orlando Ballet’s financial standing, overall operations and business practices and put the ballet company in a position to better deliver its mission and commitment to the community.

“The support we receive from Krista and Jonathan Ledden is unprecedented and you would be hard-pressed to find another arts company with board members who give so much to the organization,” said Orlando Ballet executive director, Shane Jewell. “From monumental financial contributions to the vast amount of expertise in both the business and arts worlds that the Leddens bring to the table, and the incredible amount of time they give to Orlando Ballet, Krista and Jonathan are a positive force pulling us to new and never before seen levels of success.”

The 34th Annual National Philanthropy Day is November 6, 2019. The AFP Central Florida Chapter will recognize and honor the Ledden’s philanthropic efforts, as well as other non-profit, civic and service sectors in the community.

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