Academy Museum Fundraising Reaches 95% of $388 Million Goal

Dave McNary

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Fundraising for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has reached more than $368 million in pledges and cash, making up 95% of its $388 million campaign goal.

The announcement was by Academy President David Rubin at the nominees luncheon on Monday, less than two weeks before the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9. The Academy also said the facility would open later this year at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, where the former May Co. department store was located, following final exhibition design, build-out and testing. It gave no specific date.

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The museum was first announced in 2012 with chair Bob Iger and co-chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks, when the Academy unveiled plans by architect Renzo Piano, and projected that the museum would open in 2016. The Academy launched a $250 million fundraising campaign and collected $200 million in pledges. After that, however, fundraising stalled and costs ballooned.

Museum director Bill Kramer said, “The motion picture community and movie fans from around the world know how much the Academy Museum will mean for the global appreciation and enjoyment of the movies. We are deeply grateful to our donors and partners for their magnificent generosity. With this latest round of gifts, we are moving closer toward completing our pre-opening campaign and launching the world’s premier destination for movie lovers.”

Ron Meyer, chair of the Academy Museum Board of Trustees and vice chairman of NBCUniversal, said, “The Board of Trustees is tremendously thankful to the individual philanthropists, foundations and leading corporate donors who are now among the Academy Museum’s growing community of Founding Supporters. It’s exciting to be so close to the goal.”

The facility will include the Barbra Streisand Bridge, the Steve Tisch Terrace, the East West Bank Gallery and the Bob Iger and Willow Bay Terrace. PwC has named the exhibition on Academy Awards history, and Wendy Stark of The Fran and Ray Stark Foundation has underwritten the museum’s restaurant.

The announcement also said The Ahmanson Foundation has made a significant grant toward museum construction. The Roddenberry Foundation is supporting the museum’s sustainability initiatives and naming the rideshare and school bus drop-off Roddenberry Lane.

Miky Lee/CJ Group has made a general contribution to the museum, and Richard Roth and Jeff Skoll have both created named endowments at the museum. Skoll’s gift will be used for social impact programming.

New contributors to the Pillar Campaign, co-chaired by Laura Dern and Kimberly Steward, include the William S. Anderson family, museum trustee Jason Blum, Cinépolis, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kelly Curtis (in honor of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh), Tom Dolby, Gaumont, Iervolino Entertainment, museum trustee Regina Scully and her husband John Scully (in honor of Sophia Loren, Miyoshi Umeki, and Rita Moreno), Barbra Streisand and ViacomCBS.

One of the largest peviously announced gifts came from Haim and Cheryl Saban, who pledged $50 million in September 2017. The main building of the museum — housed in the former May Co. department store — will be named the Saban Building.

Gifts have included donations from the David Geffen Foundation (David Geffen Theater), Rolex (Rolex Gallery), Dalian Wanda Group (the Wanda Gallery), Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation in honor of Sid Ganis, Dolby Laboratories/Family of Ray Dolby (Dolby Family Terrace), The Walt Disney Company (Walt Disney Company Piazza), Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg (Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Gallery).

Other donors include Steven Spielberg (Spielberg Family Gallery), Shirley Temple Black and Family (Shirley Temple Education Studio), Gale Anne Hurd (Hurd Gallery), NBCUniversal, Netflix (Netflix Terrace), Participant, Cecilia DeMille Presley (Cecil B. DeMille Founders Room), Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman (Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman Terrace), The Simms/Mann Family Foundation (Ted Mann Theater).

Additional gifts have been made by Jeff Skoll, The Fran and Ray Stark Foundation, Warner Bros. Entertainment (Warner Bros. Entertainment Gallery), Wasserman Foundation (Wasserman Bridge), and Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events LLC/Compass Group USA Inc.