Shepherd takes on honorary chairman role of CSO fundraising campaign


Dave Shepherd, founder and chairman of Shepherd Insurance, has always challenged himself in the business world or on the basketball court.


Shepherd has taken on a new challenge as honorary chairman of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra’s new 2020-21 fund-raising campaign, called “PLEDGE 45: Funding a Future Together.”

Shepherd, a 1970 Carmel High School graduate, won the Indiana Mr. Basketball title his senior year.

“I have always been known as an athlete and not necessarily as a man of the arts, but I do believe passionately that the arts are very important to our community, especially in Carmel,” stated Shepherd, who also is planning to be among the first to donate and will encourage others to do the same.

The new campaign comes at a time when the nonprofit arts organization, a resident company at the Center for the Performing Arts, is struggling due to the COVID-19-related cancellation of some shows from March through August and limited capacity on shows this fall. The PLEDGE 45 brand pays tribute to the CSO’s celebration of its 45th season, a testament to its longtime service to the arts in Carmel.

“I am just here to help any way that I can, and I can tell you that without raising additional capital, without donations from our citizens, the CSO might still survive, but it certainly will not thrive,” Shepherd stated. “And Carmel has never been known as a community where ‘being average’ is OK. We have always strived to be the best and do the best at everything that we do.”

CSO Artistic Director Janna Hymes was the first to sign up for PLEDGE 45.

“This is the 45th season of the CSO and we had big celebrations planned when the pandemic began,” Hymes stated. “We are committed to performing concerts this season with safety measures in place and a renewed sense of hope. This is the hardest time for the arts in modern history. More than ever it is important and desperately needed that people support the CSO and our amazing musicians. I am honored to be the first to sign up and hope many will follow. Please consider helping us during this unprecedented time. We truly need and appreciate your help.”

Collegiately, Shepherd played for Indiana University before transferring to the University of Mississippi, where he was voted the team’s MVP in 1975.

Shepherd founded Shepherd Insurance in 1977. He credits Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard for having the vision to build the Palladium, where the CSO performs most of its shows, and for making the arts an important part of the community.

“Of course, we have great schools and great sports programs; we have great neighborhoods and excellent police and fire protection. The arts, well, they are like the icing on the cake,” Shepherd stated. “It is so important for us to support the CSO and to teach our children, our younger generation, about the role the arts can and should play in our lives. I think this is vitally important for Carmel.”


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