Foundations Commit $330 Million to Protect DIA Collection

Foundations Commit $330 Million to Protect DIA Collection

Local and national foundations have committed more than $330 million to help the City of Detroit preserve the collection of the and protect the underfunded pensions of city workers, reports.

Late last year, a coalition of foundations that includes the (CFSEM) and the , , and foundations responded to a suggestion from Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen to create a fund that would help the city — which is in the midst of the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history — honor its pension commitments and prevent the DIA collection from being liquidated. Details of the offer have not been revealed, but the foundation commitments and other contributions to a fund at CFSEM would go directly to DIA and pensioners and not fund a permanent endowment at the foundation, CFSEM president Mariam Noland told Crain's.

According to the , private contributions to save the collection from liquidation could be used to present creditors with an alternative to a bankruptcy bidding war — though one person involved in negotiations with the city cautioned that the announcement does not resolve an estimated $3.5 billion in pension claims and $5.7 billion owed to city retirees for healthcare costs. In December, Christie's Appraisals estimated the fair-market value of the DIA collection at between $454 million and $867 million.

"While we approach this matter from different perspectives, we are united in the view that the plan offers an important opportunity to help Detroit find much-needed solutions to its unique challenges," said the foundations in a joint statement. "Helping to protect the hard-earned pensions of city workers while also preserving the DIA's collection for all the people of southeastern Michigan are worthy components of a balanced overall settlement that will help ignite Detroit's renewal." 

Sherri Welch. "." Crain’s Detroit Business 01/13/2014. Chad Livengood, Dave Shepardson. "." Detroit News 01/13/2014. "." Kresge Foundation 01/13/2014.