Tampa Museum of Art attracts historic $5M endowment from Vinik Family Foundation

In celebration of turning 100, the Tampa Museum of Art is receiving a $5 million endowment from the Vinik Family Foundation, which goes on the record for the largest gift made to the museum’s endowment fund. Specifically, this endowment will name and support the executive director’s leadership position, which will now be called the Penny and Jeff Vinik Executive Director of the Tampa Museum of Art. 
“It’s a great honor to be able to carry the name of distinguished members of our community. It is something more frequently seen at universities, but is equally as important in the non-profit world and in the arts and culture,'' says Executive Director Michael Tomor. "Because we are a private entity, we work with philanthropy to support ourselves. This kind of gift motivates people to also do the same. It can be transformational to others to contribute to and influence leadership and community assets, which is very important.” 
Penny Vinik has been on the downtown Tampa Museum's Board of Trustees since 2013, and also co-chaired the Museum’s strategic planning committee and assisted the executive search committee during the hiring process of Tomor. Most recently, the Vinik Family Foundation made a splash in Fall 2018, when they loaned a Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room from their  permanent collection, LOVE IS CALLING, to part of the museum’s Season of Love, a triad of exhibitions encompassing the theme of love.
“When the Tampa Museum of Art was seeking new leadership, they were specifically interested in someone who could come to the museum and better engage with the community at large and program opportunities -- not only bringing people to the museum, but bringing arts and culture outside of these walls,” Tomor explains. “My leadership interests are that the Tampa Museum of Art is well-integrated into all walks of life. This is what I really love to do and my strong suit.”
Endowments, versus other types of gift, are important to ensure sustainability and longevity for nonprofit organizations and are particularly meaningful because they look beyond a normal lifespan and long into the future.
“When I found out about this endowment, it certainly was a great honor that the Viniks would do this and a great surprise. For the museum, it is a best practice standard and demonstrates private support of the institution that is meaningful now, but it also provides financial security for generations to come,” Tomor says.

The Tampa Museum of Art is situated on The Tampa Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River in Downtown Tampa.

For more information, visit the Tampa Museum of Art.

Read more articles by Caitlin Albritton.

Caitlin Albritton is a freelance writer based in Tampa with a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and a MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. When she's not looking at art throughout town, she can be found making it. You can keep up with her visual art on Instagram @caitlinalbritton or on her website. Visit her recent line of inlay “wearable paintings.”
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