IMA losing chief right before big fundraising effort

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Maxwell Anderson is leaving his post as director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art just as the institution is preparing to launch a capital campaign it hopes will make up for financial pain inflicted by the recession.

"The mood of the board and senior staff is we want to carry on with the strategic plan we developed over the past year," IMA spokeswoman Katie Zarich said Friday morning.

Anderson will become director of the Dallas Museum of Art in January, the museum announced Thursday afternoon. The museum has yet to officially announce a capital campaign, but that was Anderson's goal last year, when he began the search for a chief development officer.

At the time, Anderson said the campaign would focus on building the endowment, and possibly creating more endowed positions like his. The CEO's slot was endowed in 2007 by a $10 million gift from Melvin and Bren Simon. Anderson earned $557,882 in salary and other benefits in the 2010 fiscal year, the museum's tax return shows.

Anderson oversaw a host of initiatives, including acquiring the Miller house in Columbus and opening a new art and nature park, 100 Acres, that have been well-received by national press and the public. His weakness, according to one former employee, was handling big donors and dedicated volunteers, who tend to have their own ideas.

The IMA saw two fundraising chiefs, Fred Duncan and Kathy Nagler, depart during Anderson's tenure. One top donor, Wayne Zink, stepped down from the board of governors, though he declined to explain his reason for doing so.

The departures came as the IMA struggled with a reduced endowment and budget cuts. The IMA twice revised its budget in 2010 because of lowered fundraising targets. The budget for the year ended June 30 was $21.2 million.

The endowment recovered to about $347 million in July from $275 million in January 2009. But the museum is ratcheting back its reliance on that fund, which means annual gifts take on more importance.  

Cynthia Rallis joined the IMA in January as its chief development officer, and board Chairman Steve Russell said she is doing a "wonderful job." "The reality is our staff is so outstanding now," he said.

Russell said he's in no hurry to find a replacement for Anderson, whom he called a "visionary in the art world."

"The key is getting the right person," he said.



  • Hmmm
    If the museum saves 550000 dollars by putting off finding a new head for a year,it seems like justice for the rest of the staff that has been cut to balance the budget. What is the hurry.
  • Kudos Please
    If Max Anderson truly believes in transparency, as he often states, then he would acknowledge that many (if not most) of the IMA initatives which have received attention are really attributable to other staff.
  • Awful
    If Max Anderson's fundraising ability is judged by how much of the IMA endowment the Board allowed him to spend, then he is a great fundraiser. If he is judged by how much money he actually solicited and brought in from donors in our community, then he is a dismal failure. Watch out, Dallas.
  • Are The Funds In Place
    The Simon Gift is very generous but as most gifts of that size they do not come in all at once. Most likely it will be at least ten more years before the entire gift is in the bank. I would not be surprised if only 25% is in hand.
  • p.s.
    Probably better said that the gift to endow the director's position was "pledged" in 2007. This endowment only covers that expense once the funds have actually been received from the donor.
  • Salary
    The amount of compensation seems a little out of touch with what the staff has suffered through regardless of how it was raised. Considering the museum massively needs funds for acquisitions more than anything now and in its history? You could ask why Max focused on his pay before finding money for other needs? Usually the donor is somewhat persuaded on what needs funding the most when they make a large donation.
  • parking

    IMA members park for free in the large surface lot and parking garage, and there are more than 170 spots on the campus where anyone can park for free. The new policy is an attempt to get people to carpool so the museum can delay the need for additional parking facilities.
    Perhaps the new pay-to-park scheme will help raise some funds. Oh, wait... 21 million? Guess that won't work after all. Back to the drawing board. Nothing like gouging the public for parking during a recession, it always looks so folk-friendly.
  • Lets try reading
    From the article - The CEO's slot was endowed in 2007 by a $10 million gift from Melvin and Bren Simon -

    An endowed gift in this case means the money was given for the sole purpose of paying the CEO's salary. By rule, it cannot be used for any other purpose.

    As an additional side, it was Max that secured this gift, allowing the IMA to never again have to worry about the CEO's salary.
  • New CEO
    Perhaps the new CEO could be paid less which would save this wonderful institution money. I have no problem with a good non-profit CEO earning a competitive income but $557,000 is a bit salty.

    Surely we have qualified cultural leaders in our own backyard. Maxwell was very sharp but obviously Indianapolis was not cosmopolitan enough for him.

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

    2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

    3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

    4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

    5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (http://www.ibj.com/article?articleId=49481).