Urgent Museum Notice

NMWA reaches $50 million endowment goal during institution’s 25th-anniversary year

View of the museum from outside showing the Neoclassical building from one corner. The building is a tan-colored stone with an arched doorway, long vertical windows, and detailed molding around the roof.
Fiscal stability allows NMWA to avidly pursue its mission of recognizing women’s creative contributions to the history of art even during difficult financial times

WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA)—the only museum in the world exclusively dedicated to showcasing the work of women artists—has successfully completed its campaign to double its endowment to $50 million.

The endowment, which stood at $25 million just six years ago, reached this new goal with more than 650 donors and a one-to-one challenge grant of $770,000 in the final months of the campaign. This endowment provides the foundational funding to secure the quality and continuity of the museum and its programs for generations. This phase of the endowment campaign was initiated after NMWA’s 20th anniversary in 2007, with the goal of doubling its $25 million endowment by the end of its 25th anniversary.

The endowment allows NMWA to advocate for women’s talents and leadership; helps empower women and girls through the inspirational example of the arts; connects great art by women to people around the world; and raises NMWA’s visibility, letting the world know that the museum is about art by women for everyone. Today, 51% of artists are women, but their work still comprises only 5% of the art on display in U.S. museums. NMWA advocates for equity for women in the arts by shining a light on excellence.

“It is a wonderful and exciting achievement to reach our $50 million endowment goal, thanks to gifts large and small from many loyal members and supporters. They share in this remarkable triumph,” said Founder Wilhelmina Cole Holladay. “Thanks must go to endowment co-chairs Climis and Carol Lascaris, who have worked diligently on behalf of NMWA, and to Gordon West, chair of the endowment board. Mary Mochary most graciously served as the honorary chair of the past years’ efforts. During financially uncertain times in our country, NMWA has not only fulfilled its goal of providing crucial funding for operations, exhibitions, education, our library and public programs, but the museum has also achieved a balanced budget and is debt-free.”

For 30 years, NMWA President Emerita Carol Lascaris and her husband Climis have dedicated themselves to supporting the Women’s Museum, from donating marble for the original 1986 refurbishment of the Lockheed Martin Great Hall to hosting myriad benefit cruises and special events for the endowment.  

“Climis and I are so pleased to have helped establish this robust endowment, which will enable us to conserve our great collections for future generations. It is the financial bedrock that upholds the museum’s purpose and our founder’s vision,” said Carol Lascaris. “Thanks to what we have accomplished together during the 25th anniversary, NMWA’s endowment will help create a stable and glorious future for the only museum solely dedicated to the wonder of women in the arts.”

Successfully reaching the endowment goal took many dedicated donors and members. These supporters gave generously to this cause because they understand the value the museum adds to the community and our world. NMWA’s members helped to make the endowment goal a reality by rallying to the call to match the challenge grant this spring and summer.

Reaching the endowment campaign goal was the culmination of a landmark 25th-anniversary year that included:

  • Six exhibitions, ranging from the historically significant visual arts exhibition Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and other French National Collections to Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power, which showcased popular performing arts;
  • A major named endowment gift from Betty Boyd Dettre, benefiting the Library and Research Center and providing funding to strengthen the museum’s role in facilitating scholarship on women artists;
  • Innovative education programs like Art, Books and Creativity, a model arts-integration curriculum that unites visual arts and language arts through the creation of artists’ books;
  • 25 Art Lovers, an institutional marketing campaign to expand the museum’s identity;
  • Launch of a new website to expand NMWA’s reach and advance its mission;
  • New gifts of art, including significant donations of works by Gabriele Münter, Meret Oppenheim, Dorothy Dehner, Elisabetta Gut, Bice Lazzari, Elisabeth Frink, Ann Hamilton, Marina Abramović, Rose Wylie and Michal Rovner that help raise the profile of the collection;
  • Increases in all major revenue areas and an increase through donations and market growth to investment balances;
  • Cash and investments totaling five times the year’s operating budget;
  • Debt-to-assets ratio of 1:16; and
  • A 4-star Charity Navigator rating, the highest available from America’s largest independent charity evaluator of sound fiscal management practices.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Founded in 1981 and opened in 1987, NMWA is the only museum solely dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in the visual, performing and literary arts. The museum’s collection features 4,500 works from the 16th century to the present created by more than 1,000 artists, including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Alma Thomas, Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Chakaia Booker and Nan Goldin, along with special collections of 18th-century silver tableware and botanical prints. NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., in a landmark building near the White House. It is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, noon–5 p.m. For information, call 202-783-5000 or visit www.nmwa.org. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA Members and youths 18 and under. Free Community Days are on the first Sunday of the month. For more information about NMWA, visit www.nmwa.org, Broad Strokes Blog, Facebook or Twitter.