MOCA Has Money—More Than $100 Million Of It

The downtown museum raises big bucks, but how much more does it need?

It’s fair to say MOCA didn’t have a great year in 2013. Six months ago, we were writing about the departure of its embattled director, Jeffrey Deitch, the downtown museum’s looming identity crisis, and its long-running “gap between ambition and funding.” Deitch left after a lot of ill will—and the departure of chief curator Paul Schimmel and artist-trustees Barbara Kruger, Catherine Opie, John Baldessari, and Ed Ruscha.

It’s only the first week of 2014, but things are already looking up for MOCA. The museum’s Board of Trustees announced earlier this week that after a 10-month campaign it has raised the institution’s endowment to more than $100 million. And it aims to raise another $50 million. That might sound like a lot, but how does that stack up to other museums’ endowments?

Crystal Bridges, opened in 2011 by Walmart heiress Alice Walton, reportedly has an endowment of more than $200 million, and the Met in New York has somewhere between $2 and $3 billion. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has $408 million while the Art Institute of Chicago has more than $800 million.

For some local contrast, the Getty had nearly $6 billion in 2008 before it lost at least $1.5 billion during the recession. The new Broad Museum that will open spitting distance from MOCA will have a $200 million endowment. LACMA’s endowment is estimated to be $115 million, paltry when compared to most major institutions. When LACMA CEO and director Michael Govan unveiled his proposed redesign of the Miracle Mile institution it came with plans for a $650-million fund-raising campaign.

The good news is that if the donations hold, MOCA’s endowment will be the largest it has ever been. That puts them in a good spot to raise another $50 million and announce a new director for the museum. The bad news is that, according to ArtInfo, “A $100 million endowment might throw off $5 million a year in income, a fraction of MOCA’s cut-to-the-bone $14 million budget.” Also not a great sign: the announced list of donors to MOCA’s endowment (see list below) doesn’t feature many of Hollywood’s deepest pockets, though it does include Sex and the City creator Darren Star. Noteably, it also includes one Jeffrey Deitch.

Paul and Herta Amir 
The Annenberg Foundation 
William and Maria Bell 
Peter M. Brant 
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation 
Blake Byrne 
Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation 
Jeffrey Deitch 
Mandy and Cliff Einstein 
Susan and David Gersh 
Nancy Jane and Mark Goldston 
Suzanne and David Johnson 
Lilly Tartikoff Karatz and Bruce Karatz 
Wonmi and Kihong Kwon 
The Margaret and Daniel Loeb Third Point Foundation 
Eugenio Lopez 
Lillian Lovelace 
Maurice Marciano Family Foundation 
Julie and Edward J. Minskoff 
Steven T. Mnuchin 
Peter Morton Foundation 
Carolyn Powers 
Dallas Price-Van Breda 
The Fred Sands Family 
Catharine and Jeffrey Soros 
Darren Star 
The Marc and Eva Stern Foundation 
Sutton and Christian Stracke 
Janet and Tom Unterman