A diverse foundation
Published in The Washington Post | August 5, 2016
A Diverse Foundation: The new National Museum of African American History and Culture’s top donors represent all corners of philanthropy.
By Peggy McGlone
Before they had collected any artifacts or hired much staff, before the architects were chosen or a design unveiled, officials at the National Museum of African American History and Culture were asking for money. For more than a decade, they have been wooing corporations, foundations and one-percenters, seeking donations to meet the $270 million needed to match the federal government’s contribution. The 19 largest gifts — ranging from $5 million to $21 million — make up two-thirds of the $273 million raised to date. Gifts have come from across the country, from established foundations to upstarts, from donors who traditionally support the arts and culture to those who made exceptions to support this cause. The gifts continue at a rapid pace. This list represents the major donors as of the end of July, but officials say that a new top donor could join the group between now and the Sept. 24 opening and that many others will be added.
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The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.