Donation The Power of Giving

Brontë Museum Receives £20,000 Lifeline Donation from T.S. Eliot Estate

Like many museums, the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England, the small house dedicated to preserving the artifacts and stories of the famous literary Brontë sisters who once lived there, has been closed for half of 2020. Ordinarily host to over 77,000 guests a year, the sudden stoppage of ticket and gift shop sales has cut deep. In danger of shutting down permanently due to budget shortfalls, they reopened in the first weekend of September to much smaller crowds, while running a crowdfunding campaign to help stay that way.

Without any fanfare or announcement, a 20,000 pound donation appeared on their campaign site on Wednesday night, September 9th 2020.

“Realizing that it was from the T.S. Eliot estate was a very special moment,” said Rebecca Yorke in an interview with the New York Times. Yorke is the head of communications and marketing at the Brontë Society, which manages the museum.

T.S. Eliot, who wrote the poetry which makes up the lyrics of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats, passed away in 1965, but his estate still receives royalties from the musical and the 2019 movie recently made from it. He has a tenuous connection to the Brontë sisters; they both knew Sir James Roberts, a Yorkshire baronet and self-made millionaire. Eliot wrote obliquely about Roberts in his poem The Waste Land, as “a Bradford Millionaire.” And Roberts, who was a close friend of the Brontë family, purchased their home and donated it to the Brontë Society. Yes, the very same Haworth Parsonage.

Whether or not the Eliot Estate made this generous donation because of that faint thread of connection or not, the money, which amounts to over $26,000, will keep the museum going for some time, though their debts continue to mount in this difficult time.

If you wish to help the Brontë Parsonage Museum, please click here for information about donating or volunteering.

Source: Town and Country Magazine


Rivals GM and Ford Form Partnership in the Name of Charity

General Motors Company and Ford Motor Company have a long, contentious history between them, a rivalry called “the hundred-year” war by some. Founded only 72 miles and five years apart in the Detroit area, the two have battled over profits, market-share, and the American image for over a century.

It is this inextricably linked history that GM is honoring with their recent charitable maneuver. General Motors Co. is donating $5 million to The Henry Ford, a museum complex in Dearborn, Michigan founded by its namesake to commemorate not only his own business and industry, but his collection of American history as well.

GM’s donation is earmarked to sponsor the museum’s rotating exhibit, a gallery devoted to promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The exhibit will now be known as “The Gallery” by General Motors. Henry Ford might roll over a bit in his grave at the idea, but his great-grandson, Edsel Ford II, was part of the decision-making process. It began with a 2013 lunch between him and Mark Reuss, the head of global product development for GM. The Henry Ford, as an independent nonprofit, is not officially affiliated with Ford Motor Co., and so it was not a conflict of interest when Reuss joined its board of trustees in 2016.

“We know that Henry Ford and Ford Motor Co. have always been and will always be inextricably linked. There’s no getting around that,” Reuss said. “But the museum is a celebration of American innovation, particularly in the transportation space, and you can’t tell that story without General Motors and Ford together.”

The first exhibit to be shown in the GM-sponsored gallery is going to be “The Science Behind Pixar.” The conjoined history of Disney and Pixar is as American as these auto companies, and a stellar example of the histories of innovation that the museum wants to feature.


Philanthropic People: Eli and Edythe Broad

Eli and Edythe Broad
Eli and Edythe Broad at an Art Museum Opening.
IMG: arcticpenguin via Flickr

Eli and Edythe Broad are lovers of art and culture, and are dedicated to social responsibility and to helping others in need. The husband and wife duo are lifelong philanthropists, with a net worth in the billions. By 2012, the Broads had given $3.5 billion to charities that benefit education, the arts, science, and the general public, and their multiple foundations are leaders in humanitarian work and monetary giving.

After spending many years engaged in entrepreneurial work with Fortune 500 companies, Eli Broad decided to retire from that line of work and focus all of his time and energy on philanthropy. His wife of 57 years, Edythe, couldn’t have been happier, and together, the couple has made a significant mark on various industries by giving back and proactively working to improve education, as well as the arts and sciences.

Because their desire to impact multiple civic arenas is so great, the Broads created not one, but four foundations that each focus on specific areas of humanitarianism. According to their overarching mission statement for the foundations, the goals the Broads have in mind include: “transforming K-12 urban public education through better governance, management, labor relations, and competition; making significant contributions to advance major scientific and medical research; fostering public appreciation of contemporary art by increasing access for audiences worldwide; leading and contributing to major civic projects in Los Angeles.”

Apart from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Broad Art Foundation, which have assets of $2.1 billion, Eli and Edythe also created sub-foundations that focus on science, education, and civic issues specifically. With a focus on the ways in which entrepreneurship can impact these areas, the Broads’ efforts have been particularly instrumental in advancing the arts and L.A.-based civic projects

One of the greatest recent achievements of the Broad Art Foundation is its creation of The Broad Art Museum, a new contemporary art museum built by Eli and Edythe on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum is set to open in late 2014, and will be home to nearly 2,000 works of art from the Broads’ personal collections and their art foundation. This museum is an extension of the original vision the couple had of creating a massive lending library of contemporary artworks, and is a physical symbol of the tremendous work they have done to advance the arts in America.

From science and medical research funding, to education grants and arts-based philanthropy, there are few industries that have remained untouched by the Broads’ immense generosity. For more information on these lifelong philanthropists, visit The Broad Foundations online.

Organizations Resources

USHMM Gets Two New Council Members


The United States Holocaust Memorial Council got two new council members in August this year, both appointed by President Barack Obama: S. Fitzgerald Haney and Beth Heifetz. President Obama spoke highly of the two, saying, “I am grateful these accomplished individuals have agreed to join this Administration, and I’m confident they will serve ably in these important roles. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”

S. Fitzgerald Haney and Beth Heifetz find themselves in impressive company; Elie Weisel is on the same council, as is U.S. Senator Al Franken. The council is made up of 55 members, which are appointed by the President for five-year terms. There are five members each from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as three ex-officio members from the Departments of Education, Interior, and State. The appointments are set on a rotation, so that 11 members are cycled out each year.

“The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national institution for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history, and serves as this country’s memorial to the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust,” reads the USHMM’s website.

In 1979, the idea of a living memorial to the victims of the Holocaust was born from the President’s Commission on the Holocaust. Fourteen years later, in 1993, the USHMM opened. Separate from the US Holocaust Memorial Council, there is also a “Committee on Conscience,” which keeps the nation’s conscience in check by confronting any issues of human genocide throughout the world. The goal is to stop crimes against humanity from occurring.

The Committee on Conscience is headed by Chairman Michael Chertoff, and members of the committee include conservative gay rights activist Ken Mehlman, neoconservative American diplomat and lawyer Elliott Abrams, and 2011 Women for Women UK honoree Todd Fisher, among others.

The USHMM isn’t just a memorial—it’s an educational institution that reminds the world and our country where we have been, where we are now, and where we never want to go again. Its presence will help insure that “such a totally inhumane assault as the Holocaust—or any partial version thereof—never recurs.”

Organizations Profiles

Paul Allen Rocks Out for Experience Music Project

Seattle Experience Music Museum
Seattle Experience Music Museum via Do-Seattle

Seattle-based philanthropist Paul Allen has released a rock album of original songs, complete with collaborations from rock legends.  The album, “Everywhere at Once” by Paul Allen and the Underthinkers, was released in early August and will benefit the Experience Music Project, the rock and roll museum that Allen founded.  Collaborations include Seattle rock band Heart, The Eagle’s Joe Walsh and the lead from The Pretenders.  Paul Allen wrote or co-wrote all thirteen tracks and plays lead guitar as well as some vocals.  The sixty year old Microsoft Co-founder continues to prove himself a renaissance man.

Along with the album available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon, the album’s website also features several free songs to listen to.  The music style is described as blues-rock with influences of gospel, R&B and funk.  Paul Allen often cites Jimi Hendrix as a profound influence in his life, and says recording music is part of his homage to the guitar legend.  The Experience Music Project has an entire exhibit devoted to Jimi Hendrix as well.  You can purchase the album for about ten dollars online.  Allen called the experience of putting the album together “fun and rewarding” and said that his team composed over seventy songs in the last two years.

The Experience Music Project is one of the most iconic landmarks in Seattle and is devoted to the history of rock music.  The museum celebrates the radicalism of rock and roll and encourages visitors to question norms and push for innovation.  The attached Sci-Fi museum is a geek’s dream and houses a diverse collection of sci-fi and pop culture memorabilia.  The museum sponsors several workshops, camps and educational events as well as hosts concerts and contests for artists and writers.

To read more about Paul Allen, check out our profile.