Phoenix Art Museum receives $4 million grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

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Phoenix Art Museum receives $4 million grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust
Phoenix Art Museum. Courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum.

PHOENIX, AZ.- Phoenix Art Museum has been named one of 71 nonprofits throughout Maricopa County to receive funding from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust’s “Now is the Moment” Grants Commemoration, a single-day investment of $123 million in Maricopa County’s nonprofit community. On September 13, 2021, the Museum received an unanticipated $4 million grant from Piper Trust, which represents the largest grant the Museum has ever received from the Trust and one of the largest single grants the Museum has received in its 60-year history from any philanthropic organization or grantmaking body. The funding, which was presented as a surprise award, will be used to support the Museum’s general operations as the institution continues to rebuild following an unprecedented seven-month closure necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impact.

“We are deeply grateful for the outstanding generosity of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust,” said Mark Koenig, the Interim Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum. “For more than two decades, Piper Trust has provided significant ongoing support to Phoenix Art Museum, grants that have benefitted everything from exhibitions and education programs to the Museum’s bilingual website and general operating support. This latest gift—the largest the Museum has received in the history of our institutions’ long partnership—further cements Piper Trust’s resolute commitment to the arts in our region and provides truly transformative support for the Museum following the single most challenging year in our 60-year history.”

Despite a tumultuous year due to the global health crisis caused by COVID-19 and economic uncertainty across all sectors, many individuals and institutions with large investments in the stock market experienced extraordinary growth in the value of their holdings, including Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, whose endowment grew by $123 million in the 15 months following the start of the pandemic. With these opposing forces at work, and as stewards of the mission of the Trust’s founder, Virginia Galvin Piper, Piper Trustees felt compelled to share all of the organization’s earnings with the community in one swift action. On September 13, 2021, Piper Trust launched the $123-million “Now is the Moment” Grants Commemoration—the largest single-day grant initiative in Arizona’s history—and named 71 organizations across Maricopa County, including Phoenix Art Museum, as recipients of transformative individual grants of varying amounts. Most grants were awarded as unrestricted support, providing grantees with full discretion and flexibility to use the funds as necessary for their respective organizations.

“We are truly honored to be a recipient of this $4 million grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, one of the largest one-time grants the Museum has received from any organization in its history,” said Mark Feldman, chair of the Board of Trustees of Phoenix Art Museum. “This grant means so much to not only Phoenix Art Museum but to the community we serve. We are deeply grateful to be able to use this funding to support important operations and ensure that our doors stay open for generations to come, and we extend our congratulations to the 70 other recipients who are also benefitting from Piper Trust’s unparalleled generosity. Arts and cultural organizations, as well as so many others across the nonprofit sector, have been fundamentally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this grant commemoration provides much-needed relief for us all.”

Phoenix Art Museum has benefitted from the generosity of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust since 2000. Through Piper Trust’s exhibition endowment, the Museum has received significant support for a number of major Museum exhibitions, most recently including Stories of Abstraction: Contemporary Latin American Art in the Global Context, Teresita Fernández: Elemental, Wondrous Worlds: Art and Islam Through Time and Place, and the upcoming Landscapes of Extraction: The Art of Mining in the American West. In 2017, Piper Trust awarded the Museum nearly $1 million in support for the institution’s new website, the first bilingual website in English and Spanish in the Museum’s history and the first of its kind at any major art museum in the United States. Additionally, as of September 12, 2021, Piper Trust has provided more than $400,000 of general operating support to the Museum since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This recent grant of $4 million awarded on September 13, 2021 will further support general operations at Phoenix Art Museum, along with opportunities for innovation that will better enable the Museum to serve its communities.

“Phoenix Art Museum is a treasured cultural destination in our community,” said Mary Jane Rynd, president and CEO of Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “The Museum continually shows us unique ways of public engagement, such as The Violet Protest—a collaborative project that illustrates how art can bring people together and foster positive actions especially during challenging times,” said Rynd.

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