Foundation folding – 25 years of giving

Seattle’s Kreielsheimer Foundation may be bowing out of the city’s donor community this summer, but the foundation’s leadership has created a new generation of donors to step into the gap, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports.

Over the last 25 years and through more than $30 million in gifts, the Kreielsheimer has been a bellwether organization whose donations lended a cachet that attracted other donors.

When the budget for the new Bellevue Art Museum rose by 15 percent, the Kreielsheimer added $150,000 to its original $1 million donation to keep pace.

“Beyond the incredible importance of the gift itself was the timing,” museum director Diane Douglas told the Journal. “These funds were committed very early, and that leadership gift was a very significant factor in getting other gifts on the table.”

The Kreielsheimer was one of the first organizations to give large donations to the arts. Seattle Children’s Theatre, for example, received $400,000 from the foundation in 1993.

“Back in those days, we weren’t getting gifts that size very often,” development director Molly Reed said. “What they’ve done for the arts in this are is nothing short of extraordinary. They’ve been a godsend.”

Although the Kreielsheimer will be gone, its gifts will keep on giving.  Many of the foundation’s donations were to arts endowment funds, where they will generate revenue for the groups forever.

The Kreielsheimer will be missed, but most in Seattle’s arts community say other sources will step in and build on the foundation’s accomplishments.

“They moved the bar for the size of gifts, and it’s been heartening to see other sources that have the resources follow their lead,” said Peter Donnelly, president of the Corporate Council for the Arts. “There will without question be a void, but there are other sources in the community that most likely will step forward.”

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