Annenberg Foundation Shifts its Base
At one point, Walter Annenberg offered to pick up the entire $40 million tab for restoring the old hall. The gesture shook loose tens of millions in donations from others.
The orchestra will dedicate this weekend's concerts to Mrs. Annenberg.
The largesse sometimes took nonmonetary forms.
Two important Cézanne sketchbooks went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1987 - "wonderful things for a museum to have in terms of showing how an artist works," said Alice Beamesderfer, the museum's interim head of curatorial affairs. "They put the rest of the Cézanne collection in a new light because you can see some of the ideas behind the painting."
The sketchbooks are two of dozens of works the couple gave to the Art Museum. Late in life, Mrs. Annenberg even gave the museum the dresses off her back: an Oscar de la Renta, a Bill Blass, and other sartorial gems now part of the museum's costumes collection.
The museum, however, did not get the Annenbergs' choice collection of Impressionist and Postimpressionist paintings, drawings, and watercolors. That breathtaking cache went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Mrs. Annenberg filled the modest role of civic savior, coming to the rescue (with others) of Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic when it was on the verge of leaving the city in 2006.
Education was a major interest for both Annenbergs. A gift of $100 million went to the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J. And their impact on the University of Pennsylvania has been, to use institutional jargon reserved for the highest expressions of generosity, "transformational."
Over the last 50-plus years, the two have given nearly $500 million to Penn for its Annenberg School for Communication, its policy center and a variety of other initiatives, university officials estimate.
The giving began in 1958 when the couple founded the communications school at Penn.
- Academy of Music
- Annenberg Foundation
- Annenberg Public Policy Center
- Annenberg School for Communication
- Barnes Foundation
- Jefferson Hospital
- Kimmel Center
- Metropolitan Museum Of Art
- Peddie School
- Pew Charitable Trusts
- Philadelphia Inquirer
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- University of Pennsylvania
- William Penn Foundation