Thursday, April 08, 2010

Forest City Ratner Foundation: still supporting BAM, the Brooklyn Museum, and Markowitz's concert series

It may be more of the same, but the latest Internal Revenue Service report from the Forest City Ratner Companies Foundation--which I called shadowy because of its lack of transparency--is still telling.

As with the return through the year ending 1/31/2008, the latest return, through the year ending 1/31/09, shows that the single largest recipient of the developer's largess, by far, was the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation (a fundraising effort led by Mayor Mike Bloomberg), gaining $1 million out of the approximately $1.5 million total dispensed.

Gifts in Brooklyn

But the foundation also plays a role in maintaining friendly relationships with some important institutions and neighbors. Thus Polytechnic University, Forest City Ratner's original partner in MetroTech, got $100,000.

(Click on graphic to enlarge)

The foundation also gave $100,000 to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Bruce Ratner has been a BAM Trustee since 1989 and chaired its board from 1992 until 2001. BAM has unequivocally supported the Atlantic Yards project.

It gave $165,000 to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, up from $125,000 in the previous year. In April 2008, shortly before the foundation delivered $100,000, Bruce Ratner was honored by the museum, an event that provoked a sometime bitter public protest.

For the second straight year, Borough President Marty Markowitz's Martin Luther King Jr. concert series got $100,000.

(Actually, Forest City Ratner, though not its foundation, is listed as a patron of both the King series as well as Markowitz's Seaside Concert Series in Coney Island, so the foundation gift may be an extra.)

Among smaller gifts, the foundation also gave $16,000 to an organization it has regularly supported, Futures in Education, which supports Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens.

2 comments:

  1. While opinions about and feelings against the Atlantic Yards project are valid and everyone is certainly welcome to share their thoughts, I think it's a little ratty to speak ill about donations and contributions to non-profit organizations. Clearly, you suspect questionable motives. But I don't think trying to publically shame donations to non-political, charitable entities is the best way to express that displeasure.

    People--and bodies, such as Foundations-- often base their giving on what could be called "personal interest." If you know someone who is a cancer survivor, you are more likely to give to that cause. If you have a park in your neighborhood, you will probably give to it's programs rather than donate your money to a park across the country.

    There are many, MANY things to pick on regarding the project and impending changes to the neighborhood. I'm not as inclined to drag charitable giving through the mud quite so much. The tone of this post makes it sound as if it's a bad thing to support an MLK concert series-- and I just can't get behind that sentiment.

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  2. And, as I've written, some foundations are clear about their goals and guidelines, and some are not.

    http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2008/04/forest-city-ratners-shadowy-foundation.html

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