The Helen & Stewart P. Blake Philanthropy Award


Philanthropy is the “love of man” in the sense of caring for, nourishing, improving, and enhancing the quality of life for human kind.

The Helen & Stewart P. Blake Philanthropy Award, formerly the Award of Merit, recognizes the exceptional philanthropy of members of the Opera family, whose devotion has enhanced Opera Carolina’s commitment to improving the quality of life for the citizens of greater Charlotte through the beauty of opera.


Leslie Paliyenko

Awarded on May 28, 1980


Hooper Alexander, III

Awarded on May 20, 2981


Oliver R. Rowe

Awarded on May 19, 1982


Hon. Sydnor Thompson

Awarded on May 25, 1983


Heinz Jaffe

Awarded on May 30, 1984


Lynnette Lewis

Awarded on June 4, 1986


Charles Rosekrans

Awarded on May 17, 1988


Clifford E. Bair

Awarded on June 20, 1989


The Opera Carolina Chorus

Awarded on June 15, 1990


Gaetano Staffa

Awarded on June 20, 1991


Mildred Templeton

Awarded on June 16, 1992


Marie Rowe

Awarded on June 6, 1995


Patricia Viles

Awarded on June 18, 1996


Jeanette N. Lee

Awarded on June 10, 1997


Emily P. Smith

Awarded on Sept. 23, 1998


Marjorie  and Bob McDorman

on June 18, 2002


Sally Ann Hall

Awarded on May 26, 2004


Dede Reid Blackburn

Awarded on May 13, 2005


Fred T. Lowrance

Awarded on June 19, 2007


Terry Lee Scott

Awarded on June 16, 2009


Charlotte and Ronald L. Payne

Awarded on October 19, 2013


Margaret and Dr. T. C. Price Zimmermann

Awarded on January 29, 2015


Pepper & Roddey Dowd

Awarded on April 16, 2016


Drs. Ki-Hyun and Sun Shin Chun

Awarded on January 28, 2017


Mary Tabor and Rob Engel

Awarded on April 18, 2018


Peg & George Povinelli

Awarded May 11, 2019


Arlene Ferebee

Awarded on September 16, 2021


Dr. Michael Marsicano

Awarded on January 26, 2023