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Detroit Makers Mull $50 Million Donation to Save Museum

Detroit Institute of Arts asks companies to help meet goal.

by on May.13, 2014

The Detroit Institute of Arts has asked Ford, GM and Chrysler to donate as much as $50 million.

Without committing to actual dollar figures, Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. appear to be warming to the idea of donating as much as $50 million to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) to ensure the museum’s art collection isn’t sold off as part of the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy.

The donations would be part of a bigger pool of money – $816 million – that will be put into the city’s pension funds over 20 years. As a result, the museum’s collection would not be sold.

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Thus far, 12 local and national foundations have committed $366 million, while the State of Michigan has pledged $350 million. The museum is required to come up with $100 million. The companies are at least open to the possibility.

“Chrysler Group is committed to playing a positive role in Detroit’s revitalization,” the company said in a statement. “Accordingly, we are reviewing the DIA’s request.”

GM is also mulling a possible contribution.

“The DIA must be central to any plans for a revitalized Detroit,” according to a statement from the automaker. “Both GM and the GM Foundation are giving very careful consideration to how we can help preserve this treasure at such a critical time.”

Ford also confirmed it is contemplating a donation.

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“Ford has been a long-time supporter of the DIA and its contributions to southeast Michigan. We are having confidential discussions with the DIA and are considering the matter very carefully,” the company said in a statement.

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The makers were approached in late March or early April about the idea of putting forth a donation to help the DIA. None of the companies have committed to a specific dollar figure at this point, although they may have some cash available to help out.

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Through the first quarter of this year, GM reported $27.4 billion in available in cash and marketable securities while Ford reported $25.2 billion. Chrysler said yesterday it has $12.4 billion in cash.

It should be noted that Chrysler Group yesterday reported a loss of $690 million during the first quarter of 2014, while Ford reported a profit of $989 million and GM brought in $100 million during the same period.

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3 Responses to “Detroit Makers Mull $50 Million Donation to Save Museum”

  1. Jorge M. says:

    What a pity that Detroit has such problems due to corrupt government for decades.

  2. Brad Stern says:

    This is all well and good…and it’s great to see all of the “Big Three” banding together to save a valuable cultural institution, but what about the Chrysler Museum in Auburn? Does Chrysler intend to ever help fund the preservation of its own heritage?

  3. Jorge M. says:

    I doubt Marchionne cares much about the former Chrysler corp. His gig is selling Fiats in the U.S. with Chrysler badging.