Ken Griffin gives $20 million to Florida’s Norton Museum of Art

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2018-07-31 12:10:02

Ken Griffin, the philanthropist, art collector and hedge-fund billionaire, has donated $16 million to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Fla. The donation, announced July 31, places Griffin’s name on the museum’s new 59,000-square-foot wing. The wing, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster, is part of an extensive museum-wide renovation and is expected to open in February 2019.

“The new Norton is the realization of an ambitious, transformative vision for the museum,” said Griffin, founder and CEO of Chicago-based Citadel, in the press release announcing the gift. “It will create a wonderful opportunity for generations of Palm Beach families, students and visitors to learn about and enjoy art.” Griffin has also pledged an additional $4 million to endow the museum’s directorship.

It is the museum’s biggest single philanthropic gift in its 77-year history, according to the release. “It is impossible to overstate the importance of this gift to the Norton,” said Hope Alswang, executive director and CEO, in the release. The expansion, underwritten by a $100 million capital campaign, will have 37 percent more exhibit space and 50 percent more space for education programs, and it will also include new public gardens, the first to be designed by Foster. Griffin’s gift, given via his Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, brings the campaign total to $107 million.

The donation to the Norton continues Griffin’s pattern of supporting art museums around the country, including several with architecturally significant expansions and buildings. In 2006, Griffin and his former wife, Anne Dias Griffin, donated $19 million to the Art Institute of Chicago toward the museum’s Renzo Piano-designed Modern Wing, whose airy interior lobby is named Griffin Court. In 2015, Griffin gave $40 million to New York’s Museum of Modern Art, a gift that put Griffin’s name on the museum’s Philip Johnson-designed, circa-1964 East Wing. His philanthropic gifts over the years have totaled at least $600 million, according to the release. Forbes pegs his net worth at $9 billion.

Griffin, a Florida native, owns about 15 acres of land, including 871 feet of beachfront, in Palm Beach. Earlier this year, he temporarily called off plans to build a single-story mansion on Ocean Boulevard.

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