Foundation Friday: Spending Money to Make Money

Cheers for Agnes Gund and the program she’s funded to provide sophisticated on-the-job business training to curators at major museums.  The Nonprofiteer particularly applauds the New York Times’ blunt summary of mission for the Center for Curatorial Leadership:

In part, the goal is that business people — or at least those with far
more financial acumen than art training — do not end up running museums.

Ms. Gund is not, technically, a foundation; but that doesn’t keep her from being a significant funder of arts, education, environmental and women’s causes.  She’s President Emerita of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, serves on several nonprofit Boards and is reported in 2006 to have given away two-thirds of her income, which amounted
to $10.5 million. 

The Nonprofiteer salutes both Ms. Gund’s acumen and the directness of her generosity.  She’s not parking her money to give away later; she’s giving it away, and in a way that will make a long-term difference to museum operations around the country–probably around the world.  Brava. 

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2 Responses to “Foundation Friday: Spending Money to Make Money”

  1. John Says:

    Curators need business training. Good for her. I speak from 7 years raising funds for the fifth largest art museum in the country. Glad someone noticed that business sense was missing from the curatorial skill-bag.

    John at All Things Fundraising

  2. Nonprofiteer Says:

    More important, museums need to be led by people for whom art, and not business, is the primary concern. Unless we want more museums to spend their precious exhibition hours on motorcycles (or other subjects peripheral to mission), we need leaders with the skill to raise money–and to say “no” to donors who demand artistic control in return for their gifts.

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