The Sarasota Opera enriches the lives of communities in Southwest Florida and beyond through powerful productions of outstanding operas. A vital part of Sarasota Opera’s mission is commitment to education. Bill Schmidt ardently supported these goals and has long been a devoted supporter of Sarasota Opera, both as a board member during his lifetime and as a patron. In 2007, he provided leadership funding to enable the renovation of the historic Sarasota Opera House, which was renamed the William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre in recognition of his generosity. The William E. Schmidt Foundation has also partnered with Sarasota Opera to foster a new generation of opera lovers and performers, by investing in opera education programs. In particular, the Foundation’s ongoing support of the Sarasota Youth Opera enables this unique program to engage young singers in a fully-staged opera production performed on the stage of the William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre.

“Bill Schmidt valued the importance of music in the education of young people and the impact that it can have in their lives. The William E. Schmidt Foundation’s continuing support of the Sarasota Youth Opera has helped opera make a difference in the lives of hundreds of young people from all walks of life. Participation in SYO has been vital in the training of future professional singers and actors, but has also helped others to discover life skills which have lead them to successful careers in a variety of fields. Many of our past students have told us how important the program has been in shaping their lives.”

– Richard Russell, General Director, Sarasota Opera