• Nonprofits & philanthropy
  • It's going to cost you more to be an Art Institute donor now

    The museum is dumping most of its donor groups, herding members into a pricier category.

    Conal Gallagher/Flickr


    79彩票注册网址The Art Institute of Chicago is shutting down nine of its dozen “donor stewardship” programs and folding them into a group called Sustaining Fellows that generally costs more—at least $2,500—to join.

    The consolidation, effective June 30, is couched as a way to streamline relationships between patrons and the museum, which attracted nearly 1.7 million visitors last year. The move also can be viewed in a fundraising context because of the higher donor level and more of a wholesale focus on donations. The museum refers to Sustaining Fellows as its " 

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    "There will be more opportunities for engagement for everyone who visits the museum," says Joseph Gromacki, a trustee. "The driver for this initiative is not financial but rather the quality of experience for the audience." 

    79彩票注册网址Noting that more than a third of the museum's attendees don't pay admission, spokeswoman Kati Murphy, says, "This transition allows us to focus resources on all visitors. We will maintain the same level of programming and are reassigning staff to better support our members and visitors."

    For decades, the museum has organized membership groups around its curatorial departments, such as the Old Masters Society or the Classical Art Society, which sponsor exhibit previews, lectures and trips to private collections and other museums.

    79彩票注册网址Those two groups are vanishing, along with the Architecture & Design Society, the Asian Art Council, Auxiliary Board, Evening Associates, Photography Associates, Prints and Drawings Associates and the Textile Society.  Affected members joining Sustaining Fellows aren't likely to be assessed through 2020, Gromacki says.

    In contrast with the $2,500 annual minimum ($1,500 for members 40 and under) to be a Sustaining Fellow, the Society for Contemporary Art, for example, ($200 for juniors and artists). It isn't getting the ax.

    Two other groups also survive, notably the Antiquarian Society, which predates the museum and is said to have grown out of Bertha Palmer’s lace casting circle. A tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization with net assets of $2.7 million according to the latest regulatory filings, it funds decorative art objects for the departments of American Art and European Decorative Art.

    “We've been successful for 140-some years,” says Kay Golitz, its immediate past president. It started out as the Chicago Society of Decorative Arts, changing its name in 1889. For the year ended October 2018, the Antiquarian Society reported a deficit of $582,477 and a doubling of expenses to just over $1 million.

    Golitz says year-to-year performance reflects the size and pace of gifts to the museum; the society derives most of its income from investments. 

    79彩票注册网址Financial performance of the Art Institute itself is likewise uneven because of fluctuating pledges. Revenue minus expenses was $30.1 million for the year ended in June 2018 but only $3.8 million for the previous year, when contributions and grants fell by nearly half, to $61.1 million. That figure rose in fiscal 2018 to $71 million.

    The , started in 1952, also is being spared, according to Gromacki. 

    79彩票注册网址The Old Masters Society supports the Department of European Painting and Sculpture, according to a website page that is now dark. It plans to host a lecture and luncheon later this month keyed to the exhibit ".” Next month is a behind-the-scenes peek at the forthcoming show "."

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