Getty Images/Jason Kempin
When many people think of nonprofit institutions with large endowments, they think of well-financed pillars of higher education such as Harvard University.
But financier John Paulson’s $100 million donation last October to the Central Park Conservancy was a powerful reminder that academia does not have a monopoly on multimillion-dollar donations. In the U.S., museums, orchestras and other cultural institutions also depend on generous patrons for financial stability.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, for example, boasts one of the finest collections in the world, and the museum’s $2.7 billion endowment is the largest among cultural institutions in the U.S., according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
This generous nest egg, as measured by its 2011 value, grew 14 percent from 2010. Last year, the museum also received millions of dollars in donations from David H. Koch, of Koch Industries, and the estate of socialite Brooke Astor.
While the museum’s wealth dwarfs that of other arts organizations, the total value of the 10 institutions with the largest endowments was $8 billion in 2011, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The numbers, while substantial, hardly compare to top-ranked American universities. Harvard University’s $32 billion endowment in the 2011 fiscal year was the highest of any American university, according to U.S. News & World Report, but more than 60 universities in the U.S. have endowments worth more than $1 billion.
Still, only three of the 10 best-endowed cultural institutions saw the value of their endowments slip from 2010 to 2011, while others registered double-digit gains. The growth has been impressive during a time of market uncertainty.
Here are the 10 largest endowments held by cultural institutions, as reported by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Necesito entender que hay detrás
de las conexiones de los astros
a mi ordenador.
En ese tiempo de las noches autóctonas
cuando se proclama el triunfo de los sueños
y los corazones se dejan sus sentimientos en las teclas.
Necesito saber quien respira al otro lado de la pantalla,
quien ha dejado besos sobre mi almohada.
¿Acaso no tengo yo derecho a conocerme?
¿No tengo derecho a conectar con mi futuro
con las cuentas y el deber cumplidos?
¿Como voy a andar a ciegas por el mundo
sin saber cual será el destino de mi sangre?
Mejor es confiarle a una pantalla
el germen del que brotan mis anhelos.