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$100M arts drive – AOL founder gives $10M

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The Kennedy Center has announced a major fundraising drive to create a $100 million endowment for for foremost arts venue in Washington D.C., the Washington Post reported on June 7.

The effort has already secured the largest gift in the center’s 29-year history: $10 million from founding America Online chief executive James Kimsey.

Kimsey, who holds a board position at the Kennedy Center, said the Kennedy Center represents the arts renaissance in the D.C. area. “We now have the Michael Jordan of the arts in Placido Domingo and Leonard Slatkin, and the locus of all this is the center,” he said.

Underway for 18 months, the campaign has already raised $70 million, said James Johnson, the center’s chairman. The goal is to raise the rest within 2 ˝ years.

“There has been unprecedented prosperity in the ‘90s in our region, and it’s a good time to be asking for endowment contributions,” Johnson said at a dinner for 65 donors, some of whom had pledged $250,000 over five years.

The center’s drive dwarfs other art campaigns in the area, such as Wolf Trap Farm Park’s $21 million goal or Shakespeare Theatre’s $10 million effort.

For full text of the article, go to the Washington Post.

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