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Berges Family Shapes a Greater St. Louis Through Powell Hall Project

Despite both being St. Louis transplants, Jim and Elizabeth Mannen Burges share a love of the city and its institutions, especially the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. “Music begins where words transports you in a way,” says Elizabeth.  

Elizabeth Mannen Berges and Jim Berges

Jim and Elizabeth are active supporters of the SLSO because they recognize the vital role that the organization plays in the St. Louis community. Jim has long held the belief that “a world-class city deserves a world-class symphony.”  


Elizabeth adds, “In St. Louis, we indeed have world-class institutions. If you start taking your kids [to these institutions] when they’re young, they feel they belong, and then it becomes their responsibility to give.” It’s this sense of philanthropy that is at the heart of the Berges Family Foundation, which works to enrich St. Louis while encouraging others to give.  


Both Jim and Elizabeth believe that the quality of cultural institutions in St. Louis, paired with its friendly spirit, makes it an ideal place to call home. “The SLSO,” Jim says, “is a vital piece of the St. Louis story.”  


“St. Louis is a better place thanks to Jim and Elizabeth and their enlightened leadership and philanthropy. All of us at the SLSO are inspired by their generosity,” says SLSO Board Chair Steve Finerty.  


With a generous leadership gift from the Berges Family Foundation, Jim and Elizabeth are making a critical investment in this legacy project. Indeed, Jim and Elizabeth are so passionate about this initiative that they established the Berges Family Challenge to inspire others to give. This spring 2024 challenge will match new and increased gifts up to a total of $2.5 million.  



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