Knight Foundation VP appointed as DIA board observer

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Detroit — Dennis Scholl of the Knight Foundation was appointed Monday as an observer of the Detroit Institute of Arts board of directors to represent the foundations’ portion of the “grand bargain,” their $366 million investment to shore up city pensions and protect DIA art.

Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight, where he oversees the foundation’s national arts program, including the Knight Arts Challenge, was appointed by the Foundation for Detroit’s Future, a new nonprofit created to collect and disperse grand bargain dollars to the city.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as observer of the DIA board of directors, and look forward to working with the museum and foundation partners to implement the grand bargain efficiently, in line with legal requirements, and with transparency,” Scholl said. “Detroit’s world-class museum is truly a cultural treasure that strengthens local communities and attracts visitors. Its viability is essential to Detroit’s revitalization, and I am proud to play a role in preserving the museum for the people of Detroit and Michigan for generations to come.”

Scholl will attend meetings of the DIA board as an observer and report back to the FDF and its foundation partners.

A partial list of the foundations and their committed contributions to the grand bargain: The Ford Foundation, $125 million; The Kresge Foundation, $100 million; W.K. Kellogg Foundation, $40 million; John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, $30 million; William Davidson Foundation, $25 million, and Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, $10 million.

Scholl has served on the boards and executive committees of the Aspen Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, the Perez Art Museum and the Linda Pace Foundation.

The grand bargain is a deal that includes $195 million from Michigan taxpayers and more than $466 million in contributions over 20 years from private foundations and corporate donors to the DIA.

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