On Thursday, December 16, 1999, the Philadelphia Museum of Art announced its receipt of an $8.5 million, no-interest loan from The Pew Charitable Trusts. This program-related support will greatly assist the Museum in costs associated with the acquisition and renovation of the Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (RSL) Building, which is located at 2501 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, across the street from the Museum's original landmark building. The Museum's commitment to acquire the RSL Building was announced on October 22, 1999.
Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said of the loan, "This extraordinary investment further illustrates The Pew Charitable Trusts' remarkable history of solid support for art and culture, and lends profound help to the Museum as we prepare to welcome a new century of visitors. The Museum's staff and Board of Trustees have long admired the beauty and close proximity of the RSL Building, and its acquisition and renovation will enhance dramatically the Museum's efforts in extending the reach of its celebrated collections through increased exhibition, research, and educational endeavors. We are enormously grateful to The Pew Charitable Trusts for doing so much to make this possible."
"This loan is an investment in Philadelphia's cultural vitality," noted Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Long a pace-setting institution in arts and culture, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has, in recent years, developed a well-considered and ambitious Long-Range Plan that has demonstrated the Museum's need for additional space. The Museum is now preparing a promising master plan for the renovation of the RSL Building and refinement of the Museum's original landmark building. The Pew Charitable Trusts are pleased to help the Museum meet its goals."
Gail Harrity, the Museum's Chief Operating Officer, added, "Now greatly bolstered with assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts, and benefiting from the informed guidance of the Vitetta Group, an accomplished architectural and engineering firm, the Museum is exploring the myriad possible uses for the RSL Building, and studying ways to further enhance the original Museum building. In our commitment to efficient pursuit of these renovation efforts, we recognize that their successful completion is predicated on continued support and investment from generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. We thank The Pew Charitable Trusts for timely recognition of both this fiscal need and the profound opportunities that the Museum's expansion holds for our region's residents."
The purchase price for the RSL Building, which offers 100,000 square feet of usable space on a two-acre site, was $17 million, with $15 million in funds raised by the Museum, and $2 million from the City of Philadelphia. Pending the approval of City Council, the City will assume ownership of the RSL Building. The Philadelphia Museum of Art will continue to seek support for renovation of the RSL Building and related expenses.
Currently, the Museum's city-owned facilities include the main Museum building and the Rodin Museum, and two historic houses in Fairmount Park: Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. With the addition of the RSL Building, the Museum will add a key component toward establishing a state-of-the-art Museum campus at the crown of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The Pew Charitable Trusts support nonprofit activities in the areas of culture, education, the environment, health and human services, public policy and religion. Based in Philadelphia, the Trusts make strategic investments to help organizations and citizens develop practical solutions to difficult problems. In 1999, with approximately $4.7 billion in assets, the Trusts granted $250 million to 206 nonprofit organizations.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art joins the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Bryn Mawr College, and Grove City College, as one of five institutions to receive no-interest loans from The Pew Charitable Trusts in 1999. The Pew Charitable Trusts have, for decades, contributed significant support to the Museum through a series of grants to operations for both special exhibitions and education. In 1995, the Trusts and The William Penn Foundation sponsored an external review of the Museum, which was conducted by Lord Cultural Resources, Toronto.