Rising to New Heights: Donor Generosity Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Giving

The Museum of New Mexico Foundation experienced an historic fundraising year in fiscal year 2021–2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022), with total earned and contributed revenues rising to new heights at $11.8 million.

Not only did we exceed our goals for development, membership and retail operations, we exceeded pre–pandemic giving levels. A portion of this success is due to the reopening of the museums and record-breaking sales in our Museum Shops, which for the first time in Foundation history, finished the year $1 million over budget. We secured $3.5 million in private support for our 13 cultural partners, far surpassing our goal by more than $1 million.

“We are grateful for the giving spirit of our members and donors,” says Foundation President/CEO Jamie Clements. “It is a testament to the loyalty and generosity of Foundation supporters that we have outperformed on our financial goals a year earlier than expected.”

A Diversity of Philanthropy
Numerous individuals and groups expressed their philanthropy in a variety of ways during FY22, from joining or renewing their museum memberships to contributing to endowment funds. To that end, some 3,500 transactions were made in support of the Museum of New Mexico system and Foundation, a figure that includes grants, donations, special events and other categories.

Membership growth reflected a monumental jump in Circles Explorers, which bested its goals by 92% as people were eager to get out of their houses to reconnect physically with New Mexico’s art, culture and history. Business Council memberships outdid expectations by 69%. In all, Foundation staff processed 6,060 general memberships, 257 Circles and Circles Explorers memberships, and 56 business memberships.

Grants generated nearly $1 million, including such highlights: The National Park Service gave $16,956 to the Office of Archaeological Studies to collaborate on an archaeomagnetic study of Tonto National Monument’s Upper Cliff Dwelling. The Institute of Museum and Library Services provided $250,000 for conservation and digitization of select Vladem Contemporary collections. And McCune Charitable Foundation gave $15,000 to the Museum of International Folk Art to engage cultural advisors in creating a more inclusive narrative for the permanent exhibition Multiple Visions: A Common Bond.

Endowment giving proved equally robust in FY22. The new Della Warrior Endowment Fund at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture will generate support for exhibitions and educational programs. Established in 2022, the fund honors Warrior, the museum’s former executive director who retired in 2021. Her eight-year legacy at the museum includes over-seeing more than 30 exhibitions, expanding the museum’s collection of Native art, establishing innovative educational programs and strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities. Two donors each pledged $100,000 to match any and all contributions up to $200,000. As of June 30, 2022, the endowment total stood at $129,916.

The Alexander Girard Legacy Fund was also established in 2022 in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Girard Wing at the Museum of International Folk Art. The 106,000-object Girard collection comprises the core of the museum’s hold- ings. The fund will provide ongoing support for educational programs and maintenance of the popular Girard-curated exhibition, Multiple Visions: A Common Bond, which opened in 1982. Two generous founding donors established the corpus of the fund, which will eventually be the catalyst for a $5 million endowment campaign.

Finally, the R.H. Blommer Endowment Fund was established at the New Mexico Museum of Art. The fund supports acquisition of artworks by New Mexico artists who worked in the first half of the twentieth century.

Support for the Foundation also grew in FY22. The Foundation is especially grateful to six thoughtful donors who bolstered our work through their wills and estate plans. Their contributions included cash, real estate and artwork, totaling more than $2 million in promised and realized gifts. Among the gifts are proceeds from the sale of a private house that will benefit the Photo Archives at the New Mexico History Museum.

Purchasing Power
Perhaps the most impressive, yet least surprising, elements of our success in FY22 came from our Museum Shops and licensing program. Retail revenues revealed that, even as people made their way back to museums, they continued to indulge in online shopping, where a stunning range of high-quality, eye-catching artworks, apparel, jewelry and other objects beckon.

In total, the Museum Shops recorded $3.6 million in sales and $575,035 in net revenue. Best-selling objects in the fiscal year included Gregory Lomayesva’s Kachina-styled figures at the Spiegelberg Shop at the New Mexico History Museum; Willard F. Clark prints at the Rosalie D. and Steven J. Harris Shop at the New Mexico Museum of Art; handmade books by Japanese artist Hana Tottori at the Lynn Godfrey Brown Shop at the Museum of International Folk Art; and works in glass by such artists as Robert “Spooner’’ Marcus, Carol Lujan and Ramson Lomotewama at the Colleen Cloney Duncan Shop at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

In this record-breaking year, the licensing program generated nearly $136,000 in gross revenue. New licensing agreements were also secured while three beautiful museum-inspired collections were brought to market.

“Our members and donors made possible these new levels of growth and support in all areas of our operations,” says Clements. “This support enhances exhibition development and educational programming throughout the Museum of New Mexico system.”



This article and image are from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Member News Winter 2022.