Milwaukee Art Museum
Press Release

Donna and Donald Baumgartner make historic endowment gift to Milwaukee Art Museum

$8 million gift dedicated to support Museum Director; largest gift ever made to institution’s endowment

By - May 16th, 2016 09:55 am
Donald and Donna Baumgartner at the Florentine Opera Company Grammy Party in 2012.

Donald and Donna Baumgartner at the Florentine Opera Company Grammy Party in 2012.

Milwaukee, Wis. – May 16, 2016 – The Milwaukee Art Museum today announced that Donna and Donald Baumgartner will make an $8 million gift to the Museum’s endowment. Their gift is dedicated to support the position of Museum Director, whose title will be named the Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the largest gift made to the Museum’s growing endowment fund in the institution’s history.

“We’ve been so inspired by Dan Keegan’s leadership and vision for the future, in particular his passion for securing the viability of the Museum for generations to come. We wanted to carry on his legacy and keep the momentum going,” said Donna Baumgartner.

Keegan will retire this week after more than eight years as Museum Director.

The historic gift to the Museum’s endowment comes on the heels of the Baumgartner’s recently announced transfer of ownership of the family company, Paper Machinery Corp., to its employees. Donald Baumgartner founded the company in 1951, which today employs more than 250 people and is the world’s leading manufacturer of machines used to produce paperboard cups and containers for brands such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, KFC and Tim Hortons. The Baumgartners’ pride of all things Milwaukee also links their business to their philanthropy. Every machine produced at Paper Machinery Corp. carries a plaque reading “Made in Milwaukee” along with an image of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The Baumgartners are longtime supporters of the Museum, and Donald is a current trustee and a past president of the board. He was part of the architecture selection committee and served as chairman of the building committee during the construction of the Santiago Calatrava-designed addition, which has since become the iconic symbol of Milwaukee. Their endowment gift is yet another signal that the Baumgartners aim to support the causes they are passionate about during the next chapter in their lives.

“We are very proud of the Milwaukee Art Museum as an institution and as a vital part of the city in which we’ve lived and worked,” said Donald Baumgartner. “Our gift is a way to celebrate past accomplishments and support future directors as they lead Milwaukee’s most acclaimed cultural institution.”

Endowment gifts are invested permanently and only the earnings are used for the donors’ intention. The original gift therefore remains intact in perpetuity generating income for the Museum’s operations for generations to come.

“I am deeply honored and humbled by this significant gift to the Museum, and we are all grateful to the Baumgartners for their unwavering support,” said Keegan. “There is no finer legacy gift than a gift to the endowment, and this sets a strong foundation for future directors to build on.”

About the Milwaukee Art Museum
Home to a rich collection of more than 30,000 works of art, the Milwaukee Art Museum is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Its campus includes the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, annually showcasing three feature exhibitions, and the Eero Saarinen–designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center and David Kahler‒designed addition. The Museum recently reopened its Collection Galleries, debuting nearly 2,500 world-class works of art within dramatically transformed galleries and a new lakefront addition.

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