Estee Lauder chairman donates $131 million

Largest donation in the New York institution's history.
March 19, 2008 5:12:19 AM PDT
Cosmetics executive Leonard A. Lauder says he will give $131 million to the Whitney Museum of American Art, the largest donation in the New York institution's history.Lauder, who is also the chairman of the 77-year-old museum, tells the New York Times in Wednesday editions that $125 million will go toward the Whitney's endowment.

He says the gift requires the museum to hold off selling its Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue at 75th Street for an extended period.

Lauder, who turns 75 on Wednesday, is the chairman of the Estee Lauder Companies. Forbes magazine reported his wealth at $3.2 billion in 2007.

Whitney director Adam Weinberg says the gift would help the Whitney continue supporting living artists and "adventurous programming."