December 2020

Dear Friends,

I’m delighted to share that in October, the Apollo Theater Board of Trustees unanimously elected Charles Phillips as our new Chairman of the Board. As you may know, Charles is not new to the Apollo. Since 2015, he has served on the Board, most recently as Vice Chairman, and has provided astute advice, counsel and oversight to me and the leadership team over the years. Charles is a well-known leader across a number of sectors—he is currently Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Recognize, the former CEO and Chairman of Infor, and board member of ViacomCBS and American Express—and his background and expertise will be invaluable in guiding the Apollo Theater during this critical time. He also has a deep love of music and an interest in emerging artists that aligns with the Apollo’s mission to provide a home for Black artists and Black culture. Reaffirming his deep connection and immense commitment to our Theater, Charles marked his new role with a generous $1 million gift to the Apollo Theater’s Emergency Fund, which was created to ensure the Theater’s continued financial stability.

Last spring, Charles’ support, coupled with donations from many generous donors, enabled the Theater to meet our $4 million emergency fund goal, allowing us to create dynamic, free events and education programs on the Apollo Digital Stage and ensuring that we continue to serve our community. We couldn’t be more grateful for the myriad efforts Charles has made to help our Theater thrive, both now and for generations to come.

Charles succeeds longtime Chairman of the Board Richard “Dick” Parsons, an outspoken advocate for artistic excellence, and a dear friend and colleague. Having led the Apollo Theater Board since 2002, Dick anchored the turnaround of the Theater and set the institution on the path to success by preserving our cultural landmark as a place for artistic innovation and unforgettable programming. It is under his guidance that the Apollo is expanding its footprint to include two new theaters at the Victoria Theater, and I am incredibly grateful to him for his leadership and dedication to the Apollo for nearly 20 years. That said, this is not a goodbye; Dick has been elected Chairman Emeritus and will remain on the Executive Committee while continuing to champion our mission and programming, educational, and community initiatives.

I hope you will join me in celebrating Charles’ new role and his immense generosity, and commending Dick for his immeasurable and ongoing support. The Apollo Theater is renowned for its dynamic artists, from Ella Fitzgerald and Luther Vandross to Lauryn Hill and performances such as Between the World and Me and the events currently on our Digital Stage. It’s a tribute to Dick, Charles, and our innovative Board of Trustees that the Apollo can amplify and celebrate these voices while nurturing the artists of our future. If you would like to be a part of the Apollo’s future, please considering making a donation here.

Best wishes for safe and joyous holiday season,




Jonelle Procope
President & CEO
Apollo Theater

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