$ 200 million from Sports Mogul’s Fortune Heads in New York, Detroit Museums – ARTnews.com


A foundation established in Buffalo, New York, by the late American sports mogul Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. will invest $ 200 million in funding for upstate New York and Detroit.

As part of this commitment, the foundation is allocating $ 60 million over 10 years for a new endowment. This endowment will provide annual funding of between $ 100,000 and $ 500,000 for 13 of the largest museums in upstate New York and Michigan. Eleven of these spaces are located in Buffalo.

Arts institutions expected to receive funding include the Buffalo AKG Art Museum and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, which will receive $ 500,000 per year, as well as the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House, and the Shea Performing Art Center. , which each receives $ 100,000 per year. Other institutions focused on history and science will also receive funding.

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In Michigan, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Institute of Arts will receive $ 700,000 each year. Smaller institutions like the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills will be among other recipients of annual donations of $ 100,000 to $ 150,000.

The foundation is also distributing one-time donations of $ 5 million to support expansion plans for the newly renovated Buffalo AKG Art Museum, the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, and the Motown Museum in Detroit.

Representatives of the foundation said the effort was aimed at boosting economic development in upstate New York and Michigan. Describing the selected institutions as “cultural treasures and economic engines,” David Egner, president and CEO of the foundation, said in a statement: “We hope that this annual operational support will help strengthen the financial position of these institutions. institutions, allowing them to continue to develop creative activities. , initiatives focused on the public that make them more inclusive.

Trustees of the foundation began discussions about the fundraising plan in mid-March 2020, just before the start of the pandemic. Some representatives of recipient museums said the additional funding would prevent further layoffs, Buffalo News reported.

After Wilson’s death in 2014, the foundation was formed with a $ 1.2 billion fund from his sale of the Buffalo Bills football team. The estate fund would now be valued at $ 2 billion after the gains made on equity investments. The total is expected to be allocated to organizations between the two regions by 2035, when the foundation will be dissolved.

Investing in the cultural sector is a new initiative for the philanthropic foundation, which for the past six years has mainly focused on causes related to athletics, healthcare and economic development.

Although Wilson was not known as a major funder of the arts during his lifetime, he did acquire a small treasure trove of valuable paintings by Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley.

“We recognize that arts and cultural institutions collectively contribute to the very fabric of community identity,” said Mary Wilson, the sports mogul’s niece, who is a life director on the foundation’s board of directors. “Make them essential to retain and attract the best talent that feeds our business community. “


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