Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans

A Legacy That Still Rings True Today

Kleinhans’ Gift to Buffalo
Watch the 2022 WNED PBS original documentary, “Kleinhans’ Gift to Buffalo.” The 30-minute program shares the story of how a generous gift from Ed and Mary Kleinhans, whose love of music, Buffalo, and each other, led to the building of a world-class concert hall. The video also features Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, retired Community Foundation President/CEO, as one of the speakers.


CREDIT: Reproduction by permission of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo, NY






In 1934, Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans, the owners of a clothing store that bore their name, died within three months of each other. They bequeathed their estates to the Community Foundation with instructions to fulfill their dream of building a music hall for our community. The Community Foundation Board led the efforts to find a location, choose an architect, oversee the construction and secure a federal grant when more funds were needed to see through the couple’s wish. Six years later, Kleinhans Music Hall opened its doors in 1940. It’s a wish and a legacy that our entire community still benefits from today.

In 2015, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo announced a $75,000 grant to Kleinhans Music Hall for a restoration project that created an archive room to preserve important pieces of our shared history. A historic photo album of the window displays at Kleinhans department store was secured by several generous donors and presented as the first gift to the archive room.

“Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans entrusted the Community Foundation to ensure their vision of building a music hall for our community. We are proud to continue honoring their legacy 75 years later and make it possible for all who enter Kleinhans to share and learn about its rich history,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, retired Community Foundation President and CEO.

In addition, several generous donors made it possible to give the first gift to the archive room, an album of photographs of 1930s window displays from the Kleinhans clothing store that was secured by the Community Foundation at auction in New York City. The album, containing 220 silver prints mounted on linen will be one of the items featured at the Music Hall’s newly constructed archive room along with renderings, artifacts and photographs.

The Community Foundation also made a $250,000 Program Related Investment (PRI) to purchase new seats for the Hall. A PRI is a low or no-interest loan that gives recipients the necessary capital to complete a community project with the intent of repayment.

We are honored to serve as our clients’ philanthropic partner and carry on their legacy for generations to come.

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