It’s been nearly eight years in the making, but this week, Bill Kramer, Director and President of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, announced that the new institution has exceeded its pre-opening fundraising campaign goal of $388 million with a donation from LAIKA that moved the museum over the finish line. This closed out the campaign launched in 2012 with a gift from the Walt Disney Company. At that time, the fundraising goal was $300 million and the opening was planned for 2017. Over the intervening years, the goal was increased to $388 million and the museum is now on schedule to open in April 2021. The latest delay was due to the pandemic.
The campaign effort headed by chair Bob Iger and co-chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks, has gathered more than 13,000 donors with gifts coming from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government entities. Cheryl and Haim Saban made the largest contribution with a transformative $50 million gift for which the Saban Building (formerly a May Company department store) was named in 2017.
Campaign chair Bob Iger said in a statement, “This is a great day for the Academy Museum and the entire world of film. Thanks to the wonderful generosity of a broad community of donors, and to the commitment of co-chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks, we have proudly achieved our goal. The way ahead is clear, as we move at full speed toward an unforgettable grand opening in April 2021.”
“Closing this fundraising campaign is an important and exciting milestone for the Academy Museum,” said Bill Kramer. “We are deeply grateful to our campaign leadership and to our Trustees, donors, and partners who have made important commitments to the campaign. Their support is helping to make the Academy’s long-held dream of building the world’s premier film museum a reality.”
Ted Sarandos, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Academy Museum, said, “Thanks to the strong leadership of Bob Iger, the enlightened support of the Academy’s Board of Governors, and the dedication of the Academy Museum’s Board and staff, this new institution is now poised to deliver on its promise as the world’s premier museum of film. To all the donors who have stepped up to make this happen, on behalf of the Board I offer our heartfelt gratitude.”
Newly named at the Academy Museum is the LAIKA Gallery, dedicated to special collections, which will debut with The Path to Cinema: Highlights from the Richard Balzer Collection. This exhibition will showcase the world’s foremost collection of pre-cinema artifacts. Metro Goldwyn Mayer is providing support for the museum’s core exhibition, Stories of Cinema.
Eric and Melina Esrailian led a campaign effort to develop a program to provide access and opportunity to under-represented communities. Drs. Kathy Fields and Garry Rayant have contributed to the museum’s general education fund in honor of Sid Ganis and Nancy Hult Ganis.
New donors to the Pillar Campaign, co-chaired by museum trustees Laura Dern and Kimberly Steward, which names the support columns in the Saban Building, include Julia and Ken Gouw in honor of Miyoshi Umeki, the Oneida Indian Nation, New York in honor of Native American musician and advocate Buffy Sainte-Marie, as well as Kimberly Steward and K Period Media in honor of Hattie McDaniel.
These supporters join other generous philanthropists who have made leadership gifts to the museum, including: Cheryl and Haim Saban (Saban Building), 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), Steven Spielberg (Spielberg Family Gallery), Patricia Bellinger Balzer, Shirley Temple Black and Family (Shirley Temple Education Studio), East West Bank (East West Bank Gallery), Gale Anne Hurd (Hurd Gallery), Bob Iger and Willow Bay (Bob Iger and Willow Bay Terrace), NBCUniversal, Netflix (Netflix Terrace), Participant, Cecilia DeMille Presley (Cecil B. DeMille Founders Room), PwC, Richard Roth, Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman (Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Terrace), The Simms/Mann Family Foundation (Ted Mann Theater), Jeff Skoll, Wendy Stark of The Fran and Ray Stark Foundation, Barbra Streisand (Barbra Streisand Bridge), Steve Tisch (Steve Tisch Terrace), Warner Bros. Entertainment (Warner Bros. Gallery), Wasserman Foundation (Wasserman Bridge), and Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events LLC/Compass Group USA, Inc. Additionally, the Academy Museum’s Digital Engagement Platform is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Alas, the fundraising is never done. A post-opening campaign to raise new endowment, programming, operating, and capital funds is being planned.
For those who’d like to support the museum with smaller gifts, you may want to consider becoming a member or buying a gift membership for a film enthusiast. Visit the museum’s website for more information.