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DMA Gets Meadows Grant for Free Admissions/Free Memberships

by Jerome Weeks 4 Jun 2013 1:38 PM

The DMA’s innovative step into audience data-gathering — through free memberships — has gotten a chunk of change from the Meadows Foundation.


The DMA’s innovative step into audience data-gathering has gotten a chunk of change from the Meadows Foundation. The DMA’s new program of free admissions is allied with a free level of membership, which is keyed to visitors’ engagement with the museum through an interactive digital system. So far, 12,000 people have registered as “DMA Friends” since the system’s launch in January.

The Meadows’ support comes as a flat 200 grand, with another gift of up to 100 grand — matching other contributions, dollar-for-dollar.

The full release:


Dallas, TX, June 4, 2013 — The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) today announced that The Meadows Foundation is making a grant of up to $300,000 in support of the Museum’s recent return to free general admission and concurrent launch of DMA Friends, the first free membership program in the country. The Foundation has given an outright gift of $200,000 and will make an additional gift of up to $100,000 as a dollar-for-dollar match to other contributions made for a similar purpose.

The DMA is the largest municipal museum in the region, providing access to its collection and a wide range of exhibitions and educational and public programs to the community at large. On January 21, 2013, the DMA returned to a policy of free general admission, reflecting its renewed institutional emphasis on increased accessibility.

In concert with this shift to free general admission, the DMA launched an innovative new platform of visitor engagement called DMA Friends, which offers free membership to anyone who wishes to be a part of the Museum. DMA Friends are offered a constellation of experiences for which they earn points through participation. They also can earn “badges,” which are bundles of activities that recognize Friends who interact with the Museum often or take part in a specific program or series of programs. Since late January, more than 12,000 individuals have enrolled in the program.

“I am deeply grateful to The Meadows Foundation for its generous support of our efforts to become an open, accessible, and vital cultural resource,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “We firmly believe that cultivating a passionate and involved constituency is of greater value than the nominal annual income historically generated by admission fees. We’re very honored to have The Meadows Foundation as a partner in this effort.”

“Repeat participation and strengthened connections are vital to the DMA’s strategic goal of enhancing its local and global relevance. DMA Friends was designed for this very purpose—and The Meadows Foundation’s support allows us to explore new modes of community engagement,” added Robert Stein, Deputy Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, who led an inter-departmental team to design and implement the new program.

“The Foundation is eager to partner with the DMA and excited about the potential of DMA Friends to improve access to the Museum and its collection and programming for all of North Texas,” said Linda P. Evans, Meadows Foundation President & CEO.

About The Meadows Foundation

The Meadows Foundation is a private philanthropic institution established in 1948 by Algur H. and Virginia Meadows to benefit the people of Texas. It is among the most recognized private philanthropies in the country, both for its grantmaking practices and for its active engagement in advancing the field of private philanthropy.

Algur Meadows established General American Oil Company of Texas in 1939 and led it to become one of the nation’s most successful independent oil and gas production companies. Believing that their lives had been richly blessed, Algur and Virginia Meadows established The Meadows Foundation in 1948 to benefit the people of Texas. In doing so, they stipulated that the Foundation’s philanthropy would continue in perpetuity under the guidance of family members and trusted advisors.

The Meadows legacy has contributed greatly to enriching the lives of countless Texans in the areas of arts and culture, civic and public affairs, education, health, and human services. The Foundation also has developed current grantmaking initiatives in support of public education (particularly in the area of early child development, enhanced reading and math instruction, and teacher and administrator preparation), mental health, and the natural environment. Since its inception, the Foundation has disbursed in excess of $760 million in grants and direct charitable expenditures to over 3,000 Texas institutions and agencies. Grants have been awarded both in large urban areas and small rural communities and in every Texas county.