The W.K. Kellogg Foundation on Tuesday joined a coalition of private foundations seeking to bolster Detroit’s pension funds and protect city-owned art from being sold in bankruptcy.
The Battle Creek-based foundation pledged $40 million toward a fund that now totals $370 million from 10 regional and national foundations that want to aid city retirees while shielding the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection from unsecured creditors seeking repayment of $11.5 billion.
Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican legislative leaders have pledged $350 million in state aid over 20 years to match the private donations, bringing the proposed settlement sum to $720 million.
The Kellogg Foundation’s decision to join the effort comes as negotiations continue over how much the DIA itself may be expected to contribute to the fund.
“I think this is incredibly generous gift on the part of the Kellogg Foundation,” DIA Chief Operating Officer Annmarie Erickson told The Detroit News Tuesday. “We are continuing to negotiate and we feel very optimistic about the direction the negotiations are taking.”
DIA leaders have resisted calls to resume charging museum admission to residents in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties as a way to help generate up to $100 million reportedly needed to buy their independence from the city’s asset list.
The DIA made free admission part of a campaign pledge to voters in 2012 when they approved 0.2-mill property tax to support the museum’s operations, generating $22 million annually, Erickson said.
“That is not on the table,” she said. “We don’t renege on the deals that we make.”
The Kellogg Foundation is not disclosing over how many years it will spread its $40 million pledge, but the grant is on top of the nearly $25 million it spends annually in Detroit on education and health care programs for children, spokeswoman Joanne Krell said.
“We are in Detroit for the long term, but this is a special circumstance that requires a special solution,” Krell told The News. “Our interest is in seeing the city thrive.”
Kellogg’s $40 million pledge represents the third largest single contribution to the Detroit pension and DIA rescue fund.
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