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'No Greater Joy Than Giving' - Join the Steward Family Challenge

As lifelong St. Louisans, David and Thelma Steward are champions of the community they call home—particularly the vibrant arts and culture institutions that help the region thrive. They especially love the diverse array of musical organizations that provide a unique soundtrack for the city and bring us together.

“We love all kinds of music and want to help make it accessible to everyone in St. Louis,” said David. “Thelma and I have been impressed with how the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is a dynamic community collaborator, not only with other arts institutions like Jazz St. Louis and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, but also with our region’s schools, hospitals, houses of worship, and service organizations. The SLSO supports St. Louis—that’s why we support the SLSO.”

Make a gift to the Steward Family Challenge here.

David and Thelma initially got involved with the SLSO in 1996 with their first gift of $50.

“We attended a concert and were so moved by the musicians and performance, we felt compelled to give,” remembers David.

Since then, their involvement has grown over the past 27 years to include becoming season ticket holders and concert sponsors to serving as long-time board members. Now, they are sponsoring the Steward Family Challenge, which will match new and increased gifts up to $150,000 through August 31.

David and Thelma Steward

In 2013, David and Thelma established the Steward Family Foundation, with a focus on supporting the arts, education, and causes that improve the quality of life in the St. Louis region. The Stewards and their foundation currently support the SLSO’s music education portfolio, a broad range of programs and initiatives that serve teachers and students from preschool through college.

“There’s no greater joy that a person can have than to give,” said David. “Supporting both the SLSO musicians and inspiring the next generation of musicians brings us such happiness.”

“Our parents demonstrated to us what service meant and the importance of giving back to your neighbors and community,” said Thelma. “They instilled the importance of philanthropy in us. That’s why we’re issuing this challenge: to support the SLSO and its programs, and also inspire others to invest in this important cultural gem.”

David agrees.

“It’s important that people understand the SLSO is a nonprofit institution, with philanthropic gifts providing more than 37 percent of its funding each year,” he said. “That’s why the community’s support is critical.”

To make a gift as part of the Steward Family Challenge, visit


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