via The Art Newspaper:
Whitney Museum could lose major funder following corporate breakup
By Jason Edward Kaufman | Posted 03 January 2007
NEW YORK. The breakup of the Altria conglomerate which begins this month is expected to severely reduce the company's generous support of museums and other cultural organisations. "We anticipate that our programme will be significantly reduced in 2008," says Jennifer Goodale, the vice president in charge of contributions at Altria.
The board of directors will announce on 31 January that it plans to spin off the Kraft Foods division, a move intended to shield Kraft from ongoing litigation against Altria's Philip Morris tobacco divisions. The restructuring will result in a major reduction of Altria's overall philanthropy.
The museum likely to be most severely affected is the Whitney, which receives more than $500,000 per year to support exhibitions at Altria's corporate headquarters in midtown Manhattan. Altria has also sponsored each of the past five Whitney Biennials, providing $500,000 for the 2006 edition.
Other museums that rely on Altria funding include El Museo del Barrio (which got $313,000 in 2005), the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Menil in Houston ($150,000 each), the New Museum of Contemporary Art ($210,000), and the Museum of African Art in New York ($105,000).
Ms Goodale has sent notices to grant recipients alerting them that the grants they receive in 2007 may be their last.