BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 4, 2011
This afternoon at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville Ark., Executive Director Don Bacigalupi, Ph.D. announced three endowments from the Walton Family Foundation.
“We are in the fortunate position of having a founding donor family that understands the need for stability and sustainability going forward, and therefore has worked with us to create the base endowments upon which we will build and grow,” Dr. Bacigalupi said. “These extraordinary gifts mean we are now able to turn to our community with confidence when we ask for its participation and involvement – confidence that we are here for the duration and that we will be a force in this region and in the field of museums and art history for generations to come.”
To operate a museum of the scale and ambition of Crystal Bridges, an initial operating budget of approximately $16-20 million has been forecasted, putting the Museum in the company of institutions such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum and the Phoenix Art Museum. The largest portion of these expenses will be met by the operating endowment, which has been funded by the Walton Family Foundation with a gift of $350 million.
The second endowment is for acquisitions, supported by a $325 million gift. This endowment will provide annual funding for purchases for the collection, or will accumulate a fund balance to prepare for periodic major acquisitions.
The third endowment is for capital improvements. Crystal Bridges has a campus of eight pavilions, all of them unique and site specific. To ensure that capital needs are met, the Foundation has made a grant of $125 million for future improvements and maintenance. This endowment will primarily be a rainy day fund.
These three endowments will be supplemented with other gifts and memberships, as well as earned income. The Walton Family Foundation gift will be enhanced with contributions from other donors.
“We seek thoughtful, strategic investments that create and strengthen partnerships with our grantees and the communities they serve. By investing in the endowment of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, my family has laid a foundation on which this institution can continue to grow as a resource for our community, state and nation,” said Alice L. Walton, member, Walton Family Foundation Board of Directors. “This endowment investment is core to the Foundation’s goal of further enhancing the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas and enabling the region to continue to flourish.”