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Ties that bind – Gifts could total $750M

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A woman who plans to donate $500 million to $750 million in the next 10 years to cultural groups in Washington, D.C., has given $38 million to create an awards program at the Smithsonian Institution and expects to play a big role in deciding who the program honors, The New York Times reported May 10.

Smithsonian curators and staff fear the museum is abandoning its independence and intellectual integrity by accepting big donations that come with strings attached, the Times said.

Catherine B.  Reynolds, 43, who made millions through a lending institution she created that underwrote student loans, told the Times that the foundation she created in her name grew “out of a very entrepreneurial business,” and added “that is the spirit and culture we want to apply to the philanthropic world.”

Her gift will create a permanent Hall of Fame of American Achievers at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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