Microsoft and Kemper Development partner to support Tateuchi Center

MicrosoftCorp. and Kemper Development Company today announced a joint commitment to contribute $2 million to the Tateuchi Center Campaign, to build a state-of-the-art performing arts center in Bellevue, Washington. The two companies have pledged $1 million apiece to the center, which will feature a 2,000-seat Concert Hall and 250-seat Cabaret, and bring nationally and internationally acclaimed music, theatre, and dance to the Eastside.

“I want to thank Microsoft and Kemper Development, not only for this important gift, but also for their recognition of Tateuchi Center as a game-changing initiative that will help secure a brighter future for the performing arts throughout the Pacific Northwest,” said John Haynes, Executive Director and CEO of the Tateuchi Center. “Today’s contributions build on the $25 million gift made last year by the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation and on other more recent commitments made by people across the community. Their ongoing support of the Tateuchi Center Campaign, especially in the midst of these challenging economic times, signals a recognition of the importance of nonprofit organizations in community-building, job creation, and our quality-of-life that I hope will echo throughout the region and inspire others to follow their example. This is what leadership looks like!”

Recently, Microsoft Corporation and Kemper Development Company have committed financial support to opposing sides of Initiative 1125, the tolling initiative which will appear on November’s ballot. Today’s announcement reflects both companies intention to commit financial support toward a priority they both share for the Eastside community.

“Political debate and discourse is a normal and healthy part of our political system, however, we must not lose track of our shared priorities in the process,” said Kemper Freeman of Kemper Development. “Today we have chosen to make a commitment to the Tateuchi Center in Bellevue instead of making additional investments on opposing sides of an expensive political campaign.”

“While our two companies are obviously on opposite sides of Initiative 1125 and both sides will continue to make our arguments, we’re pleased to have this opportunity to partner with Kemper Development and invest in this important community project that will make the Eastside an even better place to live and work,” said Microsoft general counsel and executive vice president Brad Smith.

Today’s announcement represents Microsoft’s third contribution to the Tateuchi Center to date, after providing funding of $1 million in 2006 and $100,000 in 2008. Microsoft has a longstanding commitment to community investment in Washington intended to enhance the academic, cultural, economic, community health, and social vitality of the state. This includes Brad Smith’s tenure as co-chair of the United Way of King County’s fundraising campaign last year, which saw King County raise $120 million in donations, more than any other United Way in the country. It also includes providing cash grants for capital improvements to local nonprofits such as Plymouth Housing; YWCA Family Village in Issaquah; YMCA, Village Theatre; Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center; the Museum of History and Industry; Seattle Aquarium; Seattle Art Museum; Solid Ground at Magnuson Park; and the Technology Access Foundation.

With this donation, Kemper Freeman, Jr., a dedicated community leader, continues his family legacy of community service and his decades of support for the arts, human service and education in Bellevue and the Eastside. As chairman and CEO of Kemper Development Company, he has supported the creation of a performing arts center on the Eastside for the past 26 years. In 2002, he announced his intentions to donate land valued at over $8 million for Performing Arts Center Eastside (PACE, now known as the Tateuchi Center) and has been a strong supporter of the Tateuchi Center, undertaking many leadership roles. Currently, he is co-chair of their capital campaign.

Additional philanthropic endeavors include co-chairing the $25 million capital campaign to build the Bellevue Arts Museum and millions of dollars in cash donations and in-kind support to valued organizations such as Bellevue LifeSpring (formerly Overlake Service League) that is located in Bellevue Square, Bellevue Arts Museum Arts Fair, Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Youth Eastside Services, Seniors Making Art, Eastside Heritage Center, and most recently through Fashion Week raised thousands of dollars for The Moyer Foundation.