Benefactor pledges to match all gifts to Ashmolean Fund - Museums Association

Benefactor pledges to match all gifts to Ashmolean Fund

Museum says seven-figure sum will help secure its future
Profile image for Geraldine Kendall Adams
Geraldine Kendall Adams
An anonymous UK benefactor has pledged to match all donations to the Ashmolean Museum’s newly established endowment fund for the foreseeable future.

The Oxford University museum set up the Ashmolean Fund in order to raise a £50m endowment to ensure its funding remains secure in the long term. The seven-figure sum pledged by the anonymous benefactor has been offered on the condition that it is used to match other gifts to the fund.

The Ashmolean has set itself a target to raise the first £25m by 2020 and has already succeeded in attracting around £9m worth of donations. The fund is expected to provide at least 20%, or £2m, of the museum’s annual operating costs.

The museum’s new director, Alexander Sturgis, said: “We are establishing the Ashmolean Fund to help support the future of the museum and we have just received an extraordinary multimillion-pound pledge on the condition that we match it. This means every gift to the Ashmolean Fund for the foreseeable future will be doubled.”

Sturgis said the endowment would help guard against future cuts to public funding. “There’s only one way in which public funding is going,” he said. “The only way we can be sure of our future security is this endowment.”

Other donations to the fund include a lifetime gift from the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation to endow the keepership of antiquities, and a seven-figure legacy gift to support the museum’s Department of Eastern Art.

The museum also announced last month that it had acquired a painting by John Constable through the arts council’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme. The acceptance settled just over £1m worth of inheritance tax.

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