MOCA’s board has obtained commitments to nearly triple their endowment to $60 million. Well, that was sudden. Just last week, the board announced that they would not be merging with any other institution. This, despite the museum’s financial setbacks including a mass exodus of employees and board members. Where, then, did this money come from?
From yesterday’s statement, it appears that the board’s wealthiest have stepped in. President Jeffrey Soros and Trustee Eugenio Lopez will head up this new team, which will be dubbed “MOCA Independence”:
The recent board commitments are part of MOCA Independence, a fundraising campaign to raise funds and bring the endowment to $100 million launched to help ensure the museum’s ongoing independence, which will be chaired by Board President Jeffrey Soros and Trustee Eugenio Lopez.
“The financial support we have already raised demonstrates the commitment of the board to ensuring that MOCA remains a world-class independent contemporary art museum, and we call on others to join in this campaign,” said Soros. “We firmly believe that the best future for the museum is one that continues our history of making our preeminent collection available to the public and of presenting innovative, scholarly programming.”
We’ve already voiced our opinions on how MOCA, in order to remain independent, will need to strengthen commitments from all of its board members, rather than relying on the puffed up donations of just a few. (We’re looking at you, Eli Broad, who’s yet to make good on his two most recent multi-million dollar payments to the museum.) But we’re still wary of these financial arrangements reached by the board. The board makes no deadline for when the money will be received, and even with the extreme wealth of the board, it seems far-fetched to believe that the museum’s endowment, which, in 2008, hit an all-time low of $5 million, will be able to grow at such an exponential pace. MOCA’s recent history has been plagued with broken financial commitments, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the current success turns out to be nothing more than invisible money.