Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund Grants MCA Generous Support to Broaden Access to the Arts for Children


Investor, hedge fund manager and philanthropist Kenneth C. Griffin (photo courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago).

Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, this week announced a generous gift of $1 million from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund. This gift honors the 50th anniversary of MCA's school and teacher programs, with a focus on ensuring the museum is open and accessible to all Chicago youth, from both Chicago Public Schools and schools throughout Illinois.

"Ken has been a committed supporter of education and the arts, especially in Chicago, and we are extremely grateful for this exceptional gift," said Grynsztejn. "These funds will increase the number of school groups that visit the MCA and ensure that our galleries are always filled with youth who can gather, observe, interact, and take part in the learning and enjoyment of contemporary art."

​"The MCA is one of Chicago's finest cultural institutions," noted Kenneth Griffin. "I hope this gift will further the MCA's mission to foster an early appreciation of the arts by providing access and learning opportunities to Illinois students and their families."

Specifically, the gift allows the museum to develop new programs that will aim to provide broader access to the museum for underserved students and their families. With support from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, the MCA will offer free bus transportation to all school groups that plan to visit the MCA in its 50th anniversary year. The gift will also assist with the MCA's expanded outreach to teens by supporting two 21 Minus events—the MCA's annual day of teen creativity—and by providing mentorship and internship opportunities to the museum's award-winning teen program, the Teen Creative Agency. 

These funds will also support the MCA's gift to Chicago during its 50th anniversary—a celebratory free weekend of programming on October 21 and 22, 2017 that will provide two days of free admission and programming for all Chicagoans to commemorate the occasion of the museum's anniversary.

​A long-time philanthropist, Kenneth Griffin has served on the MCA Board of Trustees since 2000. In 2010, the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund announced a gift of $10 million to support the curatorial program under the direction of Michael Darling, the MCA James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator. The museum gratefully acknowledged this gift and created the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art in his honor. He also regularly supports the museum's most popular exhibitions, including the record-breaking David Bowie Is, Jeff Koons, Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, and the upcoming summer exhibition, Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. His long history of philanthropic support of the MCA is underscored by his involvement as a leader on the board.  Anne Kaplan, MCA Board Chair, notes, "Ken's support of the MCA goes far beyond this recent gift. He has quietly supported the MCA's efforts to renovate our building, and our many exhibition programs for many years. We have always valued his active participation as a board member."