On January 16, 2008, the Kravis Center announced the establishment of the Helen K. Persson Society, recognizing members whose financial commitments to the permanent endowment will keep the Center fiscally sound for generations to come.
Mrs. Persson has long been a shining example of generosity to her community, providing steadfast support to the Kravis Center and numerous other organizations in Palm Beach County. By lending her name to the Kravis Center's endowment effort, Mrs. Persson has once again made an invaluable contribution to the cultural well-being of her community and ensured the long-term fiscal stability of the Kravis Center.
"I have been very fortunate my whole life, especially because I have been surrounded by fine music from an early age," Mrs. Persson said. "Because of this, I developed an unwavering passion for the arts. To me, no matter what my circumstances may have been, my life was rich simply because it was filled with music. It is my hope that the creation of this new society as part of the effort to build the endowment will ensure that future generations have the opportunity to experience the arts, so that they may develop the same love for them that I did."
Mrs. Persson has devoted her life to public service beginning at the University of Pennsylvania where she studied nursing, eventually becoming head nurse for pediatrics at the university's nursing school. During World War II, she served as a member of the Navy Nurse Corps, advancing to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
She also is a talented musician who sang professionally with the San Francisco Opera. Recognizing that music enhanced her own life immeasurably, both as a performer and audience member, she has helped impart that same experience to countless students through her philanthropic contributions and volunteer service on the boards of several arts organizations locally. Likewise, her love of the nursing profession has been expressed by countless hours of hospital volunteer work, board service and the creation of nursing endowments and scholarships.
Mrs. Persson, who turned 90 this year, served for more than a decade on the Kravis Center Board of Directors. She has been a generous supporter of the Center, contributing to the original Capital Campaign and continuing her support through the Annual Campaign, the sponsorship program and a $1 million gift to Encore Campaign, naming the Helen K. Persson Rehearsal Hall. A Founder Member and Life Trustee, she served as Gala Chair in 2005. In 2004, Mrs. Persson was the recipient of the Dreyfoos Award, bestowed upon an individual whose service, generosity and leadership truly are inspirational.
The establishment of the Helen K. Persson Society fulfills one of the key objectives of the Kravis Center's 10-year strategic plan, which calls for an emphasis on building endowment through a planned giving program. To become a part of this important effort and follow Helen Persson's fine example, please contact the Kravis Center's Development Department at 561.651.4230.
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