DIA to Raise $100M to Pay Pensions, Save Art

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DETROIT — The Detroit Institute of Arts has confirmed its participation in a plan being facilitated by Judge Gerald Rosen to help bring an end to the city’s bankruptcy, expand support for Detroit’s pensioners, and protect the museum’s collection for the public.

Today, the DIA’s board of directors approved a commitment by the DIA to raise $100 million from corporate and individual donors toward these efforts. The DIA joins the foundation community ($370 million) and the State of Michigan ($350 million) in support  Rosen’s plan to benefit the people of Detroit and the State.

“The DIA’s management and volunteer leadership forthrightly agreed to accept this challenge, despite its difficulty and the many other fundraising commitments the museum manages annually,” said Eugene A. Gargaro, Jr., chairman of the DIA board. “We are hopeful this agreement will allow Detroit’s bankruptcy to move forward smoothly as we all work toward a brighter and better future for Detroit.”

None of the funds raised by the DIA will directly benefit the DIA. The funds will be directed to a third party, which will disburse the funds for pension payments. As part of the agreement, Detroit will transfer to the DIA free and clear legal title to the museum building, the art collection and all related assets. The DIA will continue to operate the museum with funds raised from its current donor base and from the tri-county millage.

“It’s important to note that the DIA is not in bankruptcy, in fact it is functioning extraordinarily well. And, while this new challenge will stretch our fundraising abilities to their capacity, the DIA will continue to provide the residents of Detroit and Michigan with amazing art and exciting programs,” Gargaro said. “The DIA has consistently met its financial challenges and goals and will meet this challenge with enthusiasm and confidence.”

The DIA will focus its initial fundraising efforts on Detroit’s corporate community. DIA leadership has compiled a list of initial prospects, finalized support materials, and held several preliminary conversations with interested donors. Details of the overall agreement are still in negotiation, but the DIA is moving forward with fundraising as those talks continue.

“The mediators are deeply appreciative of the DIA’s decision to step forward in such a significant way as a partner in this effort to help protect pensions of Detroit’s retirees and safeguard for our city, region and State the DIA’s treasured art collection,” Rosen said. “We all recognize the magnitude of this great undertaking and appreciate the depth of the DIA’s commitment to the City of Detroit and its retirees. As the mediation team continues to work toward a complete, fair and balanced agreed-upon plan of adjustment, the DIA’s significant undertaking will play an important role in our efforts.”

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