Foundations, Donors Offer $330 Million in Detroit Bankruptcy Settlement



Local and national foundations have pledged as much as $330 million to protect the holdings of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), the Detroit Free Press reports today. U.S. Chief District Judge Gerald Rosen, the mediator in an ongoing bankruptcy negotiation, announced the pledges this morning. The money would go to aid Detroit’s pension funds in a deal that would mean Institute artworks would not be sold to pay the city’s creditors.

The foundation working group comprises nine members, including the Ford Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation, Kresge Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In a statement, the funders said, “As a diverse group of local and national philanthropies, we are pleased to contribute to what we hope will be a balanced, workable plan that will enable Detroit to emerge from bankruptcy renewed and stronger.”

Individuals have also pledged support, the Free Press notes; Paul Schapp, an area entrepreneur, has offered $5 million toward the campaign to protect the DIA’s holdings.

Rosen had asked the foundations last month to pledge $500 million. Orr has estimated the city’s pension funds may face a deficit of as much as $3.5 billion, the article says.

The foundations’ pledge is on the condition that the donation would support “the twin goals of helping fill the unfunded gap in Detroit’s municipal pension obligations and protecting the DIA art collection from possible sale,” the Free Press reports.