Jean Baptiste (Tad) Adoue III Fund
Most of Dallas’ major cultural organizations have benefited from the generosity of the late Tad Adoue. Born in Dallas in 1910, Jean Baptiste “Tad” Adoue III was the son of a former mayor and a grandson of the man who founded the city’s National Bank of Commerce. He graduated from Southern Methodist University’s law school and served in World War II as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.
But his real calling was as a theatrical producer and talent scout. Together with famed director Margo Jones, he helped found Theater ’47 in Dallas, which soon became one of the country’s top regional playhouses. He moved to New York in 1950 and continued to work with Ms. Jones. According to theatrical legend, he brought her the script to Inherit the Wind. The drama, written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee, is regarded a classic of American theater.
Tad Adoue lived in New York for the next 30 years, working as a producer and investor and befriending many leading performers of that era. He retired to Dallas in the early 1980s. He died of cancer, at age 81, in 1991. Cabaret performer Bobby Short, actor Larry Hagman, and playwright Jerome Lawrence were among the honorary pallbearers at his funeral.
In 1975, Mr. Adoue had established a trust that named The Dallas Foundation as its chief charitable beneficiary upon his death. That gift created the Jean Baptiste (Tad) Adoue III Fund to support the arts in Dallas County. The Foundation’s Board of Governors awards grants from the fund through a competitive application process each spring.
The fund’s list of grant recipients is as wide-ranging as Mr. Adoue’s artistic interests: The Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Theatre Center, North Texas Public Broadcasting, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Dallas Opera are among the many groups his fund has supported.
The grants have helped build new theaters, purchased seats and lighting systems, and underwritten performances and exhibits. One grant even allowed the city of Dallas to restore Henry Moore sculpture, “The Dallas Piece,” in front of City Hall – an especially fitting legacy, given the Adoue family’s long history of civic service.
In 2011, the Adoue Fund underwrote a new concert series at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra called “Masters of Film Music.” The series commissioned new works from three top film composers, and brought those composers to Dallas for the debuts and a multimedia retrospective of their careers. The first concert featured English composer George Fenton, who wrote the music for Memphis Belle and Dangerous Liaisons.
“This is quite an extraordinary thing, this series,” Mr. Fenton said at a pre-concert reception in Dallas. “It’s the sort of thing composers sit and dream about. This is absolutely wonderful.”
Through the Masters of Film Music series, the orchestra's leaders hope to build awareness of symphonic music in popular culture, help people appreciate the art of film scoring, and add new music to the symphonic repertoire.