Why This Donor Doubled Down On Music at University of Missouri

Last decade, Rex Sinquefield, co-founder of Dimensional Advisors, and his wife Jeanne retired to Missouri and put a philanthropic bullseye on the Show Me State. Sinquefield is one of the most influential donors in the state, promoting a strong libertarian agenda. He's given heavily to shape public policy outcomes in the state through both philanthropic investments in think tanks and political giving. On the K-12 front, Sinquefield supports outfits that are strongly in favor of privatizing education and eliminating teachers unions.

In higher education, meanwhile, the couple's philanthropy has been decidedly less contentious; Jeanne takes the lead here, as an arts advocate and string bass player in two Missouri symphonies. 

I've written before about the Sinquefield couple's steady support of the University of Missouri, where in 2015, a $10 million gift from the couple funded a proposed new School of Music building. This isn't the only gift the couple has given to the school, either. In 2009, they gave $1 million to create the Mizzou New Music Initiative (MNMI), which includes the Sinquefield Composition Prize, as well as support for scholarships, ensembles, faculty, and an international composer festival at the school.

Related: The Donors Behind a $10 Million Music Gift at University of Missouri

Regarding the Sinquefield's $10 million gift, I remarked that these kinds of gifts sometimes happen in an escalating way, building on or refining previous efforts. Well, now comes news of continued support of University of Missouri and music. The couple recently gave a gift of more than $2 million over three years to the University of Missouri toward continued support of its Mizzou New Music Initiative. The "MNMI brings together a diverse array of programs which position the MU School of Music as a leading national and international center in the areas of composition and new music."

It's worth noting that MNMI's programming not only involves University of Missouri, but other outfits throughout the state. For instance, a component of the music intiative involves Creating Original Music Project (COMP), a statewide competition, grades K-12. Another effort, Missouri Composers Orchestra Project, is in collaboration with Columbia Civic Orchestra, where Jeanne plays string bass. Remember, this is a couple that came to Missouri to start another chapter of their lives, and they've been making inroads and relationships across the state since their arrival.

To date, the Sinquefields have provided more than $15 million to the university, including nearly $4.5 million in support the Mizzou New Music Initiative. If history is any indication, expect more music giving by this wealthy couple down the line.

Related: Rex Sinquefield