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Bank of America Charitable Foundation Gives $600,000 to Support Free Admission for School Tours

PORTLAND, ORE.- Today, the Portland Art Museum announced a major gift to its Art Access Endowment to fund free admission opportunities. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has pledged $600,000 towards free Museum tours for school groups, grades K through 12. Each year the Museum welcomes more than 20,000 children through school groups and field trips.

“This gift will allow children to come face-to-face with the artistic wonders of the world, past and present. At a time when schools are cutting funding for the arts, Bank of America’s donation will encourage educators to utilize the Museum and its collections as a vital resource, inspiring our children with mankind’s greatest creative achievements,” said Brian Ferriso, the Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr. Director.

“Through a wide variety of programs, Bank of America works to strengthen artistic and cultural institutions and, in turn, the communities we serve,” said Roger Hinshaw, Bank of America Oregon/SW Washington market president. “We are proud to support the Portland Art Museum to permanently eliminate cost as a barrier to area schools’ access while providing a transformational opportunity for our local youth.”

This is the second largest corporate gift the Museum has received and is one of the largest corporate gifts in support of arts and culture in Oregon .

“Without question this is a very significant corporate investment in the arts, one of the largest we have seen in the past decade. Bank of America has been a consistent top business supporter of the arts in our state for many years, but this is an exciting new high,” said Virginia Willard, Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts executive director.

This gift from Bank of America challenges the community to raise the remaining $400,000 to fund free school tours at the Museum forever.

“The Museum is extremely grateful to Bank of America for their commitment to the Museum and to Oregon ’s children,” said Ferriso. “We hope that this leadership gift will motivate others to step forward and help us endow free school tours.”

With the announcement of this lead gift, the Museum is launching a campaign to raise the remaining $400,000 before the school year begins in September. The campaign will be co-chaired by Hinshaw, Museum Trustee Gordon Sondland and his wife Katherine Durant. Earlier this year, Sondland and Durant pledged $1 million to endow free general admission for children ages 17 and younger.

In April, the Museum began offering free general admission to children but continued to charge a small administrative fee for school groups. This administrative fee, approximately $2.50 per child, covers costs of groups visiting the Museum such as additional staff, parking for buses, and other accommodations.

The Museum is seeking support from corporations, foundations, and community members to donate the remaining $400,000 so that cost will never be an impediment to schoolchildren visiting the Museum and experiencing the power of art. Individuals or organizations interested in supporting this initiative should contact the Museum’s Development Office at 503.276.4272.

About the Art Access Endowment
During the past several years, the Museum has offered sporadic free days based on one-time donations or sponsorships. In 2007, the Museum announced an initiative to endow free admission times to provide greater access to the Museum, its exhibitions, and collections.

“It is not enough to offer free days occasionally, based on one-time gifts. We want to ensure free admission times for young and old, student and scholar, forever,” said Ferriso, “The best way to do that is through an endowment.”

The principal of an endowed gift is not used, but rather the interest generated produces an annual revenue stream. It is this investment income that funds the endowed program. The principal remains intact and continues to produce revenue every year, allowing the program to continue.

The goal of the Art Access Endowment is to ensure that the Museum offers multiple, regularly scheduled opportunities to visit without charge. The $5.5 million endowment goal is divided into five parts:

$1 million for free regular admission for children (ages 17 and younger) – funded by a pledge from Sondland and Durant

$1 million for free admission for school tours to cover the administrative fees associated with organizing and accommodating tours of groups of schoolchildren – $600,000 gift from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation goes towards this goal

$1 million for free transportation to the Museum, for schools that need transportation assistance for student tours

$1.25 million for free admission on one Thursday night each month

$1.25 million for free admission on four Sundays per year

Thanks to the gift from Bank of America, the Museum has now raised $1.75 million toward this endowment

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