$800 Million? Now That's A Legacy!
May is national Leave a Legacy month in Canada. Leave a Legacy is a national public awareness organization aimed at encouraging people to leave gifts to charity or other non-profits in their will (or through some other gift planning mechanism).
Throughout May, Leave a Legacy has a number of events scheduled across the country. The list of events in Toronto can be found here.
One family in the United States that is certainly committed to leaving a legacy is the Waltons (of Wal-Mart fame). The Wall Street Journal reports that the Walton Family Foundation has pledged to donate $800 million to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a museum founded by Alice Walton (daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton).
The 201,000 square foot museum is encyclopedic in nature and aims to chronicle the history of American art from the late 1600s to the present. The museum is located in Wal-Mart’s rural Arkansas hometown of Bentonville (population 35,301) and set to open on November 11, 2011.
The gift by the Walton Family Foundation is being heralded as the largest cash donation ever made to an American museum – exceeding the $660 million in oil stocks donated to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles by Paul Getty in the late 1970s and the $500 million cash donation made by Caroline Weiss Law to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
The Los Angeles Times has pointed out that while the Waltons’ donation might be the biggest cash gift ever, the actual value of Getty’s donation was larger – when adjusted for inflation, his donation in 1976 is worth almost $2.5 billion in today’s terms.