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Detroit's Big Three car makers pledge $26m to protect city’s art

Ford, General Motors and Chrysler pitch in on Grand Bargain plan to aid pension funds

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) has secured a $26m contribution from three automakers to protect its art collection and support local pension funds amid the city’s ongoing bankruptcy case. Ford pledged $10m each, as did General Motors and its foundation, while Chrysler has committed $6m, the museum announced at a press conference today. The DIA is also in talks with the insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Los Angeles-based Getty Foundation, among others, about potential contributions, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The DIA is now more than one-quarter of the way to its $100m goal, thanks to the automakers’ donation. Over the next 20 years, the museum has pledged to contribute $100m to the “Grand Bargain” to support Detroit’s ailing pension funds while preventing the museum’s works of art from being sold to settle the city’s bankruptcy. Last week, the Michigan state legislature approved its $350m contribution to the bargain, bringing the total amount pledged to $820m.

“It is inspiring to see the notable organisations of Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Chrysler Group, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, rallying together to aid city pensioners and help Detroit on its path to revitalisation,” said Michigan’s governor Rick Snyder. “I want to applaud all the organisations for their generous contributions and I’m grateful that so many Michiganders and Michigan businesses are uniting together towards our shared goal of a strong and healthy Detroit.”

Update, 11 June: The New York-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Los Angeles-based J. Paul Getty Trust pledged a combined $13m to the Grand Bargain, the DIA announced Wednesday. The Mellon Foundation has offered $5m up front, with an additional $5m contingent upon the museum raising matching funds to reach its $100m goal. The Getty Trust has offered $3m. The donations bring the total amount pledged toward the Grand Bargain deal to more than $830m.

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