Christel DeHaan's Encore: an Endowment for the Future

The American Pianists Association has received a donation of $2,748,000, a final gift from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation that underscores Christel DeHaan's everlasting influence on our organization.

Christel DeHaan in her office

Christel emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1962 and grew an Indiana-based timeshare condominium business into a global leader in the travel and tourism industry. She sold her company, Resort Condominiums International, in 1997 and over the rest of her life used proceeds from the sale to fund the arts in Indiana as well as education and anti-poverty initiatives around the world.

Christel joined the American Pianists Association Board of Directors in 1995 and served as Board Chair from 1997 to 2004. In 1997 she bestowed a gift of $1,000,000 to the organization that established an endowment that powers our mission to this day. “We want to help ensure that APA fellowships are among the most significant awards an American pianist can receive,” she said at the time.

Newsletter announcing Christel's original gift in 1997
Newsletter announcing Christel's original gift in 1997

Prior to her passing, Christel provided a clear outline that articulated her intentions and desires for the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation (CDFF) following her death. Legacy Grants would be the culminating gifts of her foundation that operated from 1997 through 2023. Through Legacy Gifts, Christel shared that “It is my hope that the Foundation’s giving has and will continue to make a difference in people’s lives for many years to come.”

Leigh Ann Hirschman, American Pianists Association’s Director of Advancement reflects on the gift: “Christel was not just a generous philanthropist; she was a deeply thoughtful one. Her thoughtfulness is reflected in her legacy gift to American Pianists Association, which is an endowed fund designated for our general operating purposes. We are thrilled with this gift, which is designed to grow over time and to allow us to determine the best ways to fulfill our mission of advancing the careers of young pianists.”

Christel DeHaan’s enduring legacy through these gifts ensures that the American Pianists Association will continue to thrive as a beacon of opportunity for young pianists and enriching the cultural landscape for generations to come.


If Christel's gift inspires you, please consider making a donation to APA. Your generosity will help launch the next generation of great American pianists.


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