Last April, Janne Sirén, the director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, got an email that most museum leaders only dream about. A man who had never before donated to the institution pledged to jump-start its $80m capital campaign with an ambitious matching scheme. The Los Angeles-based billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach ended up giving $42.5m and the museum’s trustees pledged $21.3m this summer.
With Gundlach’s help, the Albright-Knox has completed what may be the fastest capital-raising campaign in US museum history. In less than three months, it amassed more than $100m—a rate of more than $1m a day. “Our objective was to launch the campaign in September of this year,” Sirén says. “We never came to a point of launch because by the time the silent phase of the summer ended, we had reached our target and beyond.”
As large institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York struggle to raise funds for ambitious expansions, the Albright-Knox’s rapid-fire campaign stands out.