The Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts’ (TAPA) President & CEO Zak Vassar announced this morning that Brett Loney will join the organization as its new Director of Development beginning November 18, 2019.

“We welcome Brett to the Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony family with great enthusiasm,” says Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts. “Brett completes our team and brings over two decades of experience in development, encompassing every area of direct fundraising and operations. We look forward to working with him to develop and grow our fundraising efforts.”

“The performing arts bring life to our community and are an invaluable part of what makes Northwest Ohio such a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” says Brett Loney. “The Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony have deep roots with an incredible reputation for excellence, and they continue to set the pace with their innovative ideas and leadership. I am excited to join this great team and to contribute my skills and experience.”

Loney will be a member of the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts’ senior leadership team as the Director of Development. Loney will be responsible for designing and executing the overall fund development vision and strategy for the organization, including annual fund drives, corporate sponsorships, endowment, planned giving, capital campaigns, grant applications, and new initiatives. He will lead a team of fundraisers and, in partnership with the President & CEO, guide overall fundraising strategies for the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts.

For more information, please contact Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts at

About Brett Loney

A Toledo native, Brett Loney is a senior development professional with 21 years of experience encompassing every area of direct fundraising and development operations. He has extensive experience cultivating, soliciting and stewarding major gift donors and more than a decade of senior leadership experience building comprehensive development programs, guiding staff and volunteers, and providing expertise on strategic planning and operations.

Most recently, Brett served as the Associate Vice President for Development at The University of Toledo Foundation. Previously, he was the Vice President for Advancement at St. John’s Jesuit High School & Academy. He also served as the Director of Development for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and Director of Development for Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School in Dayton.

Brett is a graduate of Fordham University, with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science. He obtained his law degree from the College of William and Mary and practiced law in Virginia prior to his career in development. He received his CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) credential in 2005 and his ACFRE (Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive) credential in 2015. He is one of only 112 individuals worldwide to have earned both the CFRE and ACFRE credentials.

He has been active in leadership positions with the Association of Fundraising Professionals Chapters in both Toledo and Dayton. He currently serves on the boards of the Wolf Creek YMCA, Josina Lott Foundation, Team Toledo Triathlon Club, and the Toledo Area Partnership for Philanthropic Planning. He is a graduate of Leadership Toledo (2002) and Leadership Dayton (2005).

Brett resides in Sylvania, Ohio with his wife Amy Waskowiak, a practicing attorney with Lyden, Chappell & Dewhirst, and children Arianna and Alex.

About the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts

Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony are the region’s oldest performing arts institutions. Toledo Ballet, celebrating its 80th year of dance instruction, is recognized as one of America’s finest pre-professional dance programs. The Toledo Symphony, celebrating its 76th season, is recognized as one of the finest regional orchestras in the country, employing 65 professional musicians, as well as numerous extra players annually as repertoire demands.

On January 1, 2019, the Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony officially merged to form the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), a new non-profit organization dedicated to providing exceptional live music and dance performances and education for the region.

Combined, the Toledo Ballet and Toledo Symphony reach more than 260,000 individuals annually through performances and education programs. The series concerts (Masterworks, Pops, Dance, Chamber, Mozart in the Afternoon, and Family Series) are the critical underpinning of TAPA’s artistic mission and regularly draw people from 135 zip codes. Education programs, student performances and community concerts are held in schools, neighborhood churches, performing arts centers and community facilities throughout the region; many are offered at no charge or provided at a reduced fee to help expand participation. For more information, please visit




Frequently Asked Questions

Q.: What does TAPA stand for?

A.: TAPA stands for the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts.

Q.: Who is part of TAPA?

A.: TAPA is a merger between the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet.

Q.: Why does this make sense?

A.: Four key reasons:

  1. History: The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet are the city’s two oldest performing arts organizations. They have a positive history of collaboration, dating back to the 1940s.
  2. Efficiency: By joining forces, the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet are able to operate more efficiently. These organizations don’t each need a ticket office, for example. By optimizing the back-office operations of these organizations, they can maximize their art forms.
  3. Education: The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet share educational missions. Between the Toledo Symphony School of Music, Toledo Symphony Youth Orchestras, and Toledo Ballet School, the organizations provide instruction and training to over 700 area students. By consolidating these educational initiatives into a single organization, it creates a school of music and dance that is unprecedented in the area.
  4. Programming: Many opportunities exist to create multi-sensory programming that explores the intersection of music and dance through traditional and new ways.

Q.: Why merge now?

A.: These kinds of strategic relationships are strongest when the constituent organizations want to merger rather than need to merge. The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet have both recorded strong gains in audience development, revenues, and fundraising. Both organizations face some challenges—like most non-profits—but both are generally considered to be healthy and well-funded. The organizations have worked together so successfully for so long, and both desire an opportunity to create something larger than the sum of its parts. They establish TAPA as a way to commit to providing the finest performing arts in the region.

Q.: Has this kind of merger happened before?

A.: Yes, the Chattanooga Symphony and Chattanooga Opera merged in 1985, marking the first performing arts merger in the USA. The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera followed in a 2002 merger. In 2012, the Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Opera, and Dayton Ballet merged to create the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. The Sacramento Philharmonic and Sacramento Opera merged in 2013. These collaborations are generally deemed to be successful, especially when the organizations have a good history of working well together.

Q.: How long as a merger been in consideration?

A.: The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet have been working closely for a year to negotiate this merger. The staff, artistic leadership, and trustees of each organization developed a positive rapport and established trust through this process. Thanks to a grant from the Toledo Community Foundation, the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet were able to seek the professional services of La Piana, a California-based consultancy that specializes in the creation of non-profit mergers.

Q.: What kind of scrutiny went into this merger?

A.: The organizations have reviewed one another’s historical records, legal commitments, and financial statements carefully and have a clear and comprehensive picture of the opportunities and challenges each faces. Officers from the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet boards of trustees were intimately engaged at all points of the merger discussions and negotiations.

Q.: Who will lead TAPA?

A.: Zak Vassar will serve as President & CEO of the new organization. The Toledo Symphony’s board chair, Pam Hershberger, will chair the combined boards. All Toledo Symphony officers will lead the new organization. All trustees of the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet will become trustees of TAPA. Three Toledo Ballet trustees will join approximately 12 Toledo Symphony trustees on TAPA’s Executive Committee.

Q.: Does the Toledo Symphony just go away?

A.: No, the Toledo Symphony will continue as a TAPA program. Likewise, its youth orchestras and School of Music will continue business as usual.

Q.: Does the Toledo Ballet just go away?

A.: No, the Toledo Ballet will continue as a TAPA program. Likewise, its school and company will continue business as usual.

Q.: Will anyone lose their job because of this merger?

A.: All Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet staff, teachers, and orchestra musicians will join TAPA. Existing vacancies will be eliminated.

Q.: What can we expect to see from the combined organization?

A.: The Toledo Symphony will incorporate more choreography into its programming, including annual dance performance(s) on its Masterworks Series. Most Toledo Ballet performances will feature Toledo Symphony musicians.

Q.: When will the first combined performances be?

A.: As it happens, the Toledo Symphony invited the Toledo Ballet to join in its presentation of Swan Lake on September 21 & 22, 2018 at the TMA Peristyle. It will represent one of the largest collaborations yet between the two organizations. This concert was devised over a year ago, long before the merger talks began. It just so happens that the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet were able to announce the merger just days before this symbolic first performance. The two organizations will also present the Nutcracker on December 8 & 9, 2018 at the Stranahan Theater.

Q.: Will the Symphony and Ballet always appear on one another’s performances?

A.: No. The Ballet will dance only on certain Symphony programs. The Symphony will provide live music for many/most of the Ballet productions.

Q.: How can people find more information about TAPA?

A.: People can learn more about TAPA by visiting

Q.: How do I get tickets for performances?

A.: By visiting, calling 419.246.8000, or visiting the box office located at the Professional Building, 1838 Parkwood Avenue, in advance. Tickets may also be purchased at the venues on the day of the performance. will redirect to