FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music is pleased to announce receipt of a legacy gift from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation in the amount of $687,000. The endowment will be used to continue supporting IU Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater performances in Indianapolis every few years.
This year, IU Jacobs Opera Theater will mount its production of Charles Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette” on Nov. 17 and 18 at Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University. The performances will follow the production’s opening weekend at Bloomington’s Musical Arts Center on Nov. 10 and 11. Katherine M. Carter will direct, with conductor Stefan Lano, chorus master Walter Huff, set designer C. David Higgins and costume designer Lydia Spellman.
Previous Jacobs School of Music Opera Theater productions performed in Indianapolis through support from the DeHaan Family Foundation include “Akhnaten” by Philip Glass, “Hansel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck and “Madama Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini.
“Christel DeHaan’s generous philanthropy is legendary and will continue to have a significant impact on Indiana, and beyond, for generations,” said Abra Bush, David Henry Jacobs Bicentennial Dean. “We are truly honored and grateful to be part of her enduring legacy.”
DeHaan’s life epitomized the American dream. Born during World War II in Germany and immigrating to the United States in 1962, she started typing and ironing services upon arrival in Indiana. In 1974, she co-founded Resort Condominiums International, now RCI, the company that pioneered vacation exchange and became the leader in its industry. After becoming sole owner in 1989, she led the company’s global expansion, creating more than 30 international offices. At the time she sold the company to Hospitality Franchise Systems in 1996, RCI had over 4,000 employees.
In 1998, DeHaan founded Christel House, a public charity that helps children around the world break the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient, contributing members of society. Currently serving nearly 6,000 students, Christel House uses a holistic approach that ensures a child’s basic needs are met, then provides top-quality education, character development, career-planning and job placement.
DeHaan’s passion for life, people and the arts was underscored by a deep commitment to excellence in all that she did. The Christel DeHaan Family Foundation made grants supporting over 700 arts, education, child welfare and human needs organizations.
As a strategic philanthropist, DeHaan wanted the foundation to close following her death and corpus assets to be distributed to designated organizations through legacy gifts. The Christel DeHaan Family Foundation closes this year after awarding $133 million in philanthropic gifts throughout its lifespan.
DeHaan will be remembered for providing educational opportunities to children in Indianapolis and around the globe, and for strengthening arts and cultural institutions in Indianapolis. Her philosophy of life was “to care, to share, to make a difference,” and nothing could summarize her life more clearly.
A celebration of the life and legacy of DeHaan and the legacy gift recipients was held Oct. 20 at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center at the University of Indianapolis.