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MoMA gets giant pledge

Donor David Rockefeller promises $100 million to the museum his mother helped found.

April 14, 2005|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — David Rockefeller, chairman emeritus at the Museum of Modern Art, has made a $100-million pledge to its endowment, the largest cash gift the museum has ever received.

Rockefeller, 89, said the gift was aimed at enhancing public programs at the MoMA, which has just completed an $858-million expansion. The museum will receive the money after his death, but he will give it $5 million a year as though the money were already being invested.

"I have watched the Museum of Modern Art grow from an idea in the minds of my mother and her friends to its position today as one of the world's greatest museums," Rockefeller said Wednesday in a statement. "My association with MoMA has been among the richest and most rewarding of my life."

Rockefeller's mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, co-founded the museum in 1929. The museum's sculpture garden is named after her.

Rockefeller, who has been a member of the museum's board of trustees since 1948, has been a key MoMA benefactor, donating $77 million toward its current $858-million capital campaign for the recently completed museum renovation and expansion. He also helped secure crucial contributions from the city and state of $65 million and $10 million, respectively, and 55 gifts of $5 million or more from individuals who are founders of the new MoMA. And he and his late wife, Peggy, have given many important works of art to the museum.

Museum officials said the money would help it to strengthen educational programs and exhibitions, which have become more expensive to present in recent years.

"This extraordinary gift represents the very definition of philanthropy -- supporting innovative programs that transform society," said MoMA Director Glenn Lowry.

The largest ever cash gift to an American museum is believed to be a $300-million bequest to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston by philanthropist Caroline Wiess.

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