Lincoln Center Receives $100 Million Pledge for Theater Renovation

Lincoln Center Receives $100 Million Pledge for Theater Renovation

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City has received a $100 million pledge from oil-and-gas billionaire David H. Koch toward the renovation of the New York State Theater, the New York Times reports.

Koch, who has an estimated net worth of $17 billion, will donate the money over ten years, with an initial payment of $15 million this summer to be followed by annual payments of $10 million for eight years and a final installment of $5 million. The donation is the lead gift in a $200 million capital campaign to enhance and update the auditorium and audience amenities of the theater, which is home to both the New York City Ballet and New York City Opera. In recognition of the largest private gift in Lincoln Center's history, the theater will be renamed the David H. Koch Theater — the second planned renaming of a New York institution for a major donor in just four months, following the announcement by the New York Public Library in March that it would name its landmark Beaux Arts building on Fifth Avenue after Wall Street financier Stephen A. Schwarzman in return for a $100 million gift.

Under the terms of the agreement, the theater could be renamed for a new donor after fifty years, with members of the Koch family retaining the right of first refusal. "A naming opportunity should be [for] a defined length of time to allow the institution to regenerate itself with another round of major fundraising," Koch told the Times.

According to Lincoln Center president Reynold Levy, the gift from Koch makes a statement about the importance and future of the performing arts in this country. "This gift puts the performing arts in another league of fundraising," said Levy, "and helps to elevate our expectations and gives us all a tremendous vote of confidence."

Robin Pogrebin. "David H. Koch to Give $100 Million to Theater." New York Times 07/10/2008.