A gift of five million dollars will be donated to the PMA by longtime American museum benefactors Judy and Leonard Lauder to support the museum’s endowment. The Lauders’ generous gift is intended to inspire philanthropy in others for the PMA, and officially marks the beginning of the Focused Endowment Initiative—a targeted plan to increase the museum’s endowment by a total of $15 million.
To honor this historic gift and to recognize Judy’s long-term commitment to the PMA, the PMA Director position will be named the Judy and Leonard Lauder Director of the Portland Museum of Art.
Mr. and Mrs. Lauder made the following remarks: “We are overjoyed to be able to make this gift to the Portland Museum of Art in recognition of its sterling leadership—from Director Mark Bessire and Board Chairman Jeffrey Kane—to the extraordinary Board, museum staff, and volunteers, who have collectively made the Portland Museum of Art one of the leading regional art museums in the United States. While we recognize the importance of buildings, we also recognize the tremendous importance of economic stability for cultural institutions. We are confident that this gift, which focuses on the museum endowment, will greatly enhance and promote the financial integrity of this magnificent Maine institution.”
“This is a transformative gift and one of the largest in the history of the Portland Museum of Art,” said PMA Director Mark H.C. Bessire. “When we complete the Focused Endowment Initiative—spurred by the remarkable contributions of Judy and Leonard Lauder—the museum’s endowment will have grown to almost $40 million, thus providing the PMA with the stronger foundation it needs to effectively continue its mission.”
Prior transformative gifts to the museum include the gift of 17 Winslow Homer works from Charles Shipman Payson in 1979, the gift of the great Renoir and related Impressionist works of art from John Whitney Payson in 1991, and the $4 million bequest from William Thon in 2000.
“We are immensely grateful to Judy and Leonard for this remarkable act of generosity and confidence in our enterprise,” expressed Board Chairman Jeffrey Kane. “As the Lauder gift clearly demonstrates, the museum’s focus on improving the visitor experience with the collection has made a compelling case for continued investment. This historic and generous gift confirms the Lauders’ extraordinary commitment to the arts and strengthens the capabilities of the PMA to connect art to everyday life.”