Sunday, March 8, 1998
Susan Friedlander
Leads $35.4 million drive
for the CSO

The Cincinnati Enquirer

1997 Women of the Year
Susan Friedlander heads the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's Second Century Campaign.
(Elizabeth Heimlich photo)
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When the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra asked Susan and William Friedlander to raise $15 million, the couple said it was not enough. They set the goal at $22.5 million and then raised it to $27.5 million. And still they went on.

"We announced in January that we had raised $35.4 million, but it isn't over," says Susan Friedlander. "The money is still coming in."

Susan S. Friedlander, 65, does two things: "I give money and I get money," she says.

As a member of the board of the Institute of Fine Arts and the Cincinnati Arts Allocation Committee, she has helped provide grants to Cincinnati arts organizations. She raises money as a member of the CSO Board of Trustees, the Cincinnati Parks Foundation, Planned Parenthood and Radio Reading Services of Greater Cincinnati.

Most of the time it's an annual campaign, she says, but the Symphony's Second Century Campaign was to increase the orchestra's endowment. The Symphony Campaign was the first that Susan took on with her husband, William Friedlander, chairman of the investment and money management firm Bartlett & Co.

"We have both run campaigns, but never together," she says. "We gave it a lot of thought before we took it on. We want our marriage to last."

The Friedlanders are native Cincinnatians who met at Walnut Hills High. Except for college and her husband's Army years, they've always lived in Cincinnati.

Susan S. Friedlander
  • Birthplace: Cincinnati.
  • Residence: Walnut Hills.
  • Occupation: Volunteer.
  • Family: Married 43 years to William A. Friedlander. Children: David, 41; Lynne, 39; Ellen, 36. Four grandchildren.
  • Education: Walnut Hills High School, bachelor's degree in psychology from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass.
  • Current project: Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Second Century Campaign.
  • Best advice received: ''Take a long walk, read a good book, make a new friend.'' (From Rabbi Victor Reichert, who was Rabbi at Rockdale Temple in Amberley Village when she was young.)
  • Her volunteer career began during her children's school years in Wyoming. For 14 years, she worked as assistant librarian in the Wyoming School System and, with librarian Virginia Gridley's help, completely reorganized the library. She also served on the board of the Craft Shop for the Handicapped at the time.

    After 14 years at the library, she retired, only to start a new career in fund raising. "It started when the Planned Parenthood Center was firebombed," she recalls.

    It was December 1985. Susan led the campaign to raise $2 million to build a new facility, the Elizabeth Campbell Center.

    "Susan is a remarkable person," writes Sue Teller in one of the nomination letters. "With her amazing energy she has mastered the art of stretching a 24-hour day to its fullest limits. She starts at 6:30 a.m. to be sure she includes her fitness exercises in a busy schedule and only occasionally skips her time at the gym to make room for an 8 a.m. meeting."

    Mrs. Friedlander is on the board of the Institute of Fine Arts and has been a Fine Arts Fund volunteer for decades. She helped launch the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts Projects Pool in 1978 to support small arts organizations. She was president of the board of Radio Reading Services until she orchestrated a merger in December between that organization and the Cincinnati Association for the Blind, where she is a board member.

    But her crowning achievement is the CSO's Second Century Campaign. "When we decided to take it on 2 years ago, we looked at the figures and decided that the $15 million they were hoping to raise was not enough, so we raised it to $22.5 million.

    "But as we were winding up the first phase of the campaign . . . you always raise some of the money quietly before you go public . . . we got a large grant from the Corbett Foundation that brought us almost up to the goal. We couldn't announce the public portion of the campaign with a goal we already had, so we had to raise it again. "So in January we announced that we had reached $35.4 million, but that's not the end. The gifts are still coming in and I think we might reach $40 million." The money will double the CSO endowment and "ensure a future for the orchestra. We will also increase education and outreach because that was a stipulation of the Corbett Foundation grant, and we may be able to restore the two violin positions that we had to lose a few years ago when the orchestra was in financial trouble."

    There's only one rule to fund raising, she says.

    "You have to believe wholeheartedly in the cause you're working for."

    Juanita M. Adams | Rebecca Bechhold | Sarah Blanken | Shannon Carter
    Susan S. Friedlander | Barbara Gould | Margaret Richards | Susan Tew
    Judith Van Ginkel | Kathy Wade
    Cover | Introduction | Previous winners