Jamestown woman’s dream of support lives on through Dibert Foundation

Roger Coda | Daily File photo
Chautauqua Music Camps students rehearse at McKnight Hall during a previous season.

When Winifred Crawford Dibert created the Winifred Crawford Dibert Foundation with the intent of aiding organizations in the Jamestown, N.Y., area, she made two specific requests in the foundation’s charter statement: First, she wanted to direct the foundation’s support to organizations that provided assistance for children in need. Second, Dibert hoped that the foundation would be able to allocate funding to organizations that were important to her, many of which she gave to throughout her life.

By helping to provide funds for the Chautauqua Music Camps as well as to Chautauqua Institution — one of the organizations very dear to Dibert’s heart — the Dibert Foundation has helped to fulfill these noble requests.

The Chautauqua Music Camps started at the beginning of Week Eight. The goal of the program is to provide youth with musical experiences they otherwise wouldn’t get, said Peter Lindblom, the director of the music camps. He is also the assistant principal trumpet in the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

There are three main groups that are part of the music camps: a middle school band directed by Terry Bacon, open to those entering sixth through ninth grade; a string orchestra directed by Donna Davis, for students entering seventh through 12th grade; and a jazz ensemble directed by John Cross, for those entering 10th through 12th grade. When the Music School Festival Orchestra and other School of Music students leave the grounds in August, these younger students have the opportunity to come to Chautauqua, utilize the Institution’s music facilities and learn their craft under the supervision of professionals.

About 60 percent of the music camps’ students are from the greater Chautauqua area, but the rest come from other places around the state and around the country.

Lindblom said the Dibert Foundation’s support of the program is vital.

The music camps will culminate with a performance featuring all three of the groups at noon Saturday at Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall.

Every season, one of the Dibert Foundation’s board meetings is held at the Institution, said Robert Ostrom, president of the foundation, so that the board members get the chance to meet with the leadership of the music camps.

“It’s just marvelous to see what these instructors provide for the children that are under their tutelage,” Ostrom said. “A number of the children are from the greater Chautauqua area, and some of the instructors are from this area as well, so it has an impact on our own task environment. And then again, you have people coming from outside the task environment that are tapping into the value of the program.”

The Dibert Foundation also provides unrestricted funds to the Institution, as it understands the importance of flexibility in financing Chautauqua’s programs and services.

“We know the mission of Chautauqua Institution and obviously, we totally support it,” Ostrom said. “We believe it’s an asset to the greater Chautauqua County area, and not just based on financial aspects — it’s also a cultural center and brings attention to this area in a very positive way. And so the unrestricted funds are to be used at the discretion of the [Chautauqua Foundation] to see that the Institution is perpetuated in the way it has been for so many years.”