Bill Schmidt, founder of the William E. Schmidt Foundation, moved to Sarasota, Florida later in his life. There, he became a substantial behind-the-scenes supporter for Sarasota Opera. Today, the Foundation continues this legacy by providing annual support for the Sarasota Youth Opera program, currently the most comprehensive program of its kind in the nation. Since 1984, it has provided thousands of young people with first-hand opera experience through participation in after-school choruses, Sarasota Opera main stage productions, summer camps, and fully staged Youth Opera productions. The program operates in keeping with Schmidt’s vision that all children should have access to quality arts education regardless of skill level or ability to pay.
The William E. Schmidt Foundation also invests in a variety of other vocal arts initiatives at the discretion of the Foundation’s board of directors.
These additional initiatives have included: