OVI’s Purpose, History and Board
Opera Volunteers International is a nonprofit volunteer organization that advocates for and supports volunteerism in opera throughout North America and beyond.
OVI works to connect individuals and local opera support organizations so that successful ideas and projects are championed, publicized and shared among our members. Through donations and fundraising, OVI has been able to offer matching grants to member groups for projects involving volunteers. Non-monetary awards – Partners in Excellence and Projects of Special Merit – recognize outstanding contributions and efforts in support of opera.
In addition, OVI is an Official Certifying Organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, an initiative of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.
Opera Volunteers International began as Opera Guilds International in the early 1970’s, when a farsighted president of the Seattle Opera Guild found her guild struggling with growing pains. Her conversations and communications with other groups serving other opera companies made her realize the need for a way to share information and ideas.
Its many and varied programs and events have furthered its mission to stimulate interest and support of opera through volunteerism, and to connect support groups, individual volunteers, donors, company staff and everyone interested in supporting and expanding the future of opera.
OVI maintains close ties to OPERA America, partnering with them for joint conferences while maintaining its own not-for-profit, tax exempt status.
Board of Directors for 2020-2021
President Susan Malott San Francisco, CA
Vice President Administration Sandra Pelfrey Amarillo, TX
Vice President Communications & Marketing Mary Svela Gladstone, OR
Vice President Membership & Outreach Anne Pennington Brentwood, TN
Secretary Vikie Hariton Tucson, AZ
Treasurer Sheila McNeill Omaha, NE
Nominating Julie Todaro Pembroke Pines, FL
Immediate Past President Rhonda Sweeney Houston, TX
Grants Rhonda Catanzaro Signal Mountain, TN
Newsletter Rick Greenman Darien, IL
Partners in Excellence Sarajane King Cincinnati, OH
Projects of Special Merit Sandra Pelfrey Amarillo, TX
Resources/ Public Relations Barbara Eckel Evanston, IL
Social Media Valerie Grace Ricordi Miami, FL
Great Lakes Open
Gulf Region James (Jim) Jolly Tuscaloosa, AL
North Central Sheila McNeill Omaha, NE
Northeast Anastasia (Stacey) Johnson Buffalo, NY
Northwest Gayle Charlesworth Kent, WA
Southeast Phyllis Driver Knoxville, TN
South Central Jerry Bohannon Katy, TX
Southwest Karen Ritz Denver, CO
Database Management Anne Prokopovych Calabasas, CA
Board members may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.