SARASOTA, FL.- Philanthropist David F. Bolger, President of the Bolger Foundation of Ridgewood, NJ and Longboat Key, FL has donated $1.105 million to fund Phase I of a waterfront landscaping plan at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The gift will be used to make improvements to the Estates 66-acre property along the waterfront area by connecting the CadZan mansion to the south property line with path ways, seating, lighting and landscaping.
The waterfront is an important component of the Museum experience, Mr. Bolger said. My gift will create a place of tranquility where Museum visitors will be able to sit, enjoy the beauty of the landscaping and the bay, and contemplate life and their place in it.
The gift will be used to complete the first phase of a larger landscaping improvement plan that will create a usable space providing facilities for outdoor experiences for Museum visitors. Upon completion of the first phase of the plan, visitors will stroll along the bay on a palm lined promenade leading toward CadZan. Seating will line the pathway facing west toward Longboat Key. A paved square adjacent to the south end of CadZan will be available for rental to the public for social events, dancing, etc. The first phase of the landscape improvement plan is scheduled for completion in late June, 2010.
The Ringling Museum is deeply grateful to Mr. Bolger for his commitment to the visitor experience of the Ringling grounds, said Interim Director T. Marshall Rousseau. Thanks to his ongoing generosity, our visitors will have a place to reflect on the beauty of this unique property and the important role that John and Mable Ringling played in creating a thriving Sarasota cultural community.
David F. Bolger is the Founder and Chairman of Bolger & Co., Inc. a real estate and investment firm in Ridgewood, NJ. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and received an Honorary Doctorate of Law Degree from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, IA. He is the President of The Bolger Foundation which has made more than $70 million dollars of philanthropic donations since 2000, including $535,000 to InStride Equine Assisted Therapy, a therapeutic-riding facility in Nokomis, FL, Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Historic Spanish Point in Sarasota, FL. His generosity is widespread with numerous leadership gifts to organizations in New Jersey including The Valley Hospital of Ridgewood, The Village of Ridgewood, West Bergen Mental Health Care, Ridgewood, Glen Rock and Midland Park Libraries, Christian Health Care Center, Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Center, Holland Christian Home, The Childrens Therapy Center of Fair Lawn, William Paterson University (School of Nursing), Bethany Christian Services, The Bergen County Chapter of Community Blood Center Services, The YMCA of Ridgewood, Northfield Mount Hermon School in Mount Hermon, Massachusetts, The Rainbow Land Preschool/Day Care of Fayette, IA where a bridge is also dedicated to Mr. Bolger known as The Bolger Bridge, Bartels Lutheran Retirement Home, Self-Help International and his most recent donation, The Lois Coonradt/Bolger Helipad to Waverly Health Center, in Waverly, IA.
Bolgers philanthropic interests began at the young age of 15 when he chose to donate money he earned delivering newspapers, shoveling coal, doing landscape work and snow removal, etc. He worked his way through college in the steel mills of Pittsburgh, PA, helping others less fortunate in a variety of ways and supporting organizations working on behalf of the handicapped, disadvantaged youths, churches, senior citizens, mental health programs, conservation activities and education; without regard to race, creed or financial status.
Bolgers gift to the Museum ensures a continued effort for completion of the Estate Master Plan which includes a historical study presented in 2002 that verifies a 1940s plan to connect the esplanade to the waterfront.