$10 million donation boosts Guthrie

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- A $10 million donation to the Guthrie Theater has nudged the organization closer to its fund-raising goals to pay for a new $125 million complex. The theater has now secured $66 million of the $85 million in private donations it seeks.

The gift, from the William W. McGuire and Nadine M. McGuire Family Foundation, is one of the largest donations to the arts in recent years. Tuesday's donation is one of a number of lead gifts to the Guthrie; others have not yet been made public.

William McGuire, chief executive of United HealthGroup, has been listed as one of the highest-paid CEOs in the state.

"We have a couple of other gifts that are as impressive," said Joe Dowling, Guthrie artistic director. Those donors "will be named if they choose to be."


The Guthrie previously announced that it would seek $75 million in private donations. It has increased that fund-raising goal to $85 million.

The theater secured $25 million in state funding in late spring for its new theater -- a blocky, sprawling complex on the banks of the Mississippi River.

"This is an absolutely fantastic gift, that, when taken with the state monies, show the public-private partnership working," Dowling said. "It's one of those acts of philanthropy that shows you how unique and terrific this community is."

The city of Minneapolis is building a $26 million, 1,000-space parking ramp to serve the theater, said Ann Calvert of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency.

The announcement of the McGuire Foundation gift is good news for the Guthrie during a sluggish time for arts organizations. On Monday, the theater reported mixed numbers at its annual meeting. The Guthrie managed a slim profit but saw a drop in attendance and a 20 percent decline in its endowment.

The Guthrie intends to break ground at its new site Sept. 8.

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