Foundations Aim to Save Pensions in Detroit Crisis

Randy Kennedy et al., New York Times, January 14, 2014

National and local philanthropic foundations have committed $330 million toward a deal to avoid cuts to Detroit retirees’ pensions and to save the Detroit Institute of Arts’ renowned collection, federal mediators involved in the city’s bankruptcy proceedings announced on Monday.

The plan was a first both in the foundation world, which has not been a source of money to shore up public-sector pensions in the past, and in municipal bankruptcy cases, experts said. It also offered the first indication of progress in the intense mediation with Detroit’s creditors to resolve the city’s financial crisis. Those talks have been proceeding under strict secrecy guidelines.

Nine foundations, many with ties to Michigan—including the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation—have pledged to pool the $330 million, which would essentially relieve the city-owned Detroit Institute of Arts museum of its responsibility to sell some of its collection to help Detroit pay its $18 billion in debts. In particular, the foundation money would help reduce a portion of the city’s obligations to retirees, whose pensions are at risk of being reduced in the bankruptcy proceedings. By some estimates, the city’s pensions are underfunded by $3.5 billion.

As part of the plan, which negotiators have been working on quietly for more than two months, the museum would be transferred from city ownership to the control of a nonprofit, which would protect it from future municipal financial threats. The foundations would stipulate that Detroit must put the money into its pension system, said Alberto Ibargüen, president of the Knight Foundation.

The unusual effort by the foundations was not the first instance of charitable groups’ and high-profile figures’ trying to help the ailing city. Previous contributors include Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, and Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor, who attended an event with city and state leaders in November to announce a $20 million initiative to help small businesses in Detroit.

But it is far from certain whether the new pledges will bring about a deal to save the museum while also helping the city meet its pension obligations, and several possible roadblocks remain. As much as $500 million may be needed to protect the art from an auction, officials have said, so additional philanthropic donations are being sought. Detroit is also contending with some 100,000 creditors in its federal bankruptcy case, and some are expected to oppose the plan. Even if the notion were to proceed, it would not be enough to resolve the city’s pension underfunding, but merely to ease it somewhat.


Last year, [Emergency Manager Kevin] Orr’s office hired Christie’s to appraise a portion of the collection that included many of the museum’s masterpieces. The auction house said that selling this portion would generate $454 million to $867 million. A group of creditors, including unions and financial institutions, is scheduled to challenge the appraisal in bankruptcy court next week.


Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation—the nation’s second-largest private foundation, with $11 billion in assets—said that it was “unprecedented and monumental for philanthropies to undertake this kind of initiative,” but that “if there was ever a time when philanthropy should step up, this is it.” {snip}



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  • Jesse James

    Make a note of these foundations and the companies that support them and do your best never to give any money to them. Though from what I know of a few of the names listed they have nothing to do with normal people.

    On a different note who in their right mind would willingly flush more money down Detroitlet.

    • D.B. Cooper

      Let the white people of Michigan foot the bill. They act as if they don’t mind doing so. The state went Obama twice, which meant more than half of the whites in that state voted for him.

    • John Smith

      There is a non-financial (yet scientific, very provable, very applicable) term for this carnage in all of our major cities – a black hole. (pardon the unintended pun).

      • bilderbuster

        And European capitol too!

  • Truthseeker

    This is one of the last bastions of culture left in Detroit, so you can understand why a lot of people want to preserve it. Unfortunately, it’s a losing cause. Detroit will never be saved as long as its majority population is black.

    • NeanderthalDNA

      I’ll support foundations dedicated to helping poor Whites in the White ghetto referenced here last week.

      Why don’t black churches take up collections? Oh well. Their libtard money.

      • bilderbuster

        Where’s The Urban League?

    • Alexandra1973

      Probably best to shut the DIA down and let the art go to other museums. If nothing else to protect it.

      Once upon a time there was a Detroit Science Center. I think I might have been there once, more than 30 years ago. I think it closed down a long time ago.

  • Extropico

    Philanthropy eh. I want to see evidence as to how this printed fiat was earned.

  • Charity: Widows, orphans, cripples, affirmative action black municipal employees in Detroit, etc.

    • LovelyNordicHeidi

      Unfortunately never seen any charity to Whites…

      • dd121

        Yeah, I want to give to the charity that serves only whites and is run by browns.

        • LovelyNordicHeidi

          And lots of posters of crying Nordic children… “Save the White child!”

        • bilderbuster

          If it’s run by browns you can bet your life the Whites will never see a dime. Whites built Detroit & the Browns ran it into the ground where it will stay forever no matter how much money is poured into the ruins.

          • Katherine McChesney

            The money probably goes into the pockets of blacks who run the ‘charities’.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      Does anyone even go to the museum?

      They should just sell it all to people who will appreciate it.

      Talk about forcing square pegs into round holes.

      • Jesse_from_Sweden

        The best thing would be for these philantropic organizations to instead donate the money to a museum in a more well-run city, so that it can expand it’s current locales and make an offer to buy the Detroit museums collections.

        Meaning the art collections still stay in museums, but somewhere where there is people that will appreciate them and where they aren’t in danger of being auctioned off to private interests due to municipal bankruptcy.

  • IstvanIN

    I say sell the art collection and the museum and put the money in the pension fund. The art collection might actually go to some people who may appreciate it, the whites who collect pension won’t have to suffer, the blacks who collect pensions will just end up on welfare anyway so we might as well save the pension fund, and eventually the bantus will burn down the museum anyway, so a sale helps everyone.

    • Jesse James

      I agree, sell the art and move it out of Detroit before the Morlocks burn it down.

      • Non Humans

        You forgot the part where the art is labeled raciss and then burned.

        • LACounty

          Replaced by African “art”.

          • Jesse James

            That they are welcome to keep. That which is African is there’s to keep, that which is European is ours and they shall not have it.

          • bilderbuster

            In it’s own sick way, Detroit itself is Modern African “Art”.

          • Katherine McChesney

            yuk. Juvenile drawings of savages.

      • AndrewInterrupted

        Haven’t heard that one in awhile.

  • LACounty

    Use that $330 million to fund one-way tickets to S.A. for all Detroit blacks. Then Whites would move in and you’ll see an immediate improvement. Guaranteed.

    • LovelyNordicHeidi

      “Use that $330 million to fund one-way tickets to S.A.”

      Good idea, and use what is left for a one-way ticket to Asia for the Orientals, and to South America for the Hispanics.

      • D.B. Cooper

        It won’t work unless we get rid of what allowed them here to begin with.

        • LovelyNordicHeidi

          “It won’t work unless we get rid of what allowed them here to begin with.”

          Time will show us the solution to that problem, and when we know the solution, they’ll get their free one-way tickets.

        • LACounty

          It was a joke, but assuming we enforced existing immigration laws (Hah!), among others, can you imagine how much it would save the taxpayer were a million of them to use and abide by those one-way tickets? 🙂

  • Spartacus

    “The plan was a first…”


    Except a lot more “firsts” as your country becomes a dark-skin hellhole… Oh, and they’re all gonna fail too .

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      They’re all gonna fail… then they’ll come after our private pensions, confiscate them and nationalize them to stave off the collapse — but tell us it’s for our own good:

      There is $19.4 trillion in the pension funds, 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) of Americans. The psychopaths in government have had their eyes on those funds for years. Confiscating that money and exchanging it for more government phony money would stave off collapse for a while longer. While the money is supposedly yours, government has so regulated it that you can’t really have it until you reach a magical age it established.

      Congressional Democrats have been holding hearings to decide what to do to help Americans prepare for retirement. Their conclusions: It might be a good thing for the government to eliminate tax breaks for 401(k)s, IRAs and similar retirement accounts, confiscate them and convert them to universal Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRA) managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

      • Bon, From the Land of Babble

        Part II:

        If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider taking the penalty and removing your money from the hands of the bankster mob and buy real money: gold and silver. But don’t buy funds or promises of gold and silver. Buy the real thing and store it in your possession.

        Regardless, as the Federal Reserve prints dollar upon dollar to fund its economic stimulus Ponzi schemes, gold as an investment looks better and better.

        • Brian

          I don’t understand the goldbug idea. As a temporary hedge against inflation, sure, but you have to convert it back to dollars at some point. But in a SHTF scenario? Seems like bullets, diesel, antibiotics and cigarettes would be more useful.

  • Fighting_Northern_Spirit

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to liquidate the art museum so that there’s a chance that civilized people will get to enjoy it? The only purpose it serves now is as a theft and vandalism magnet.

    • Reverend Bacon

      Yes, it’s like leaving all those ancient artifacts in the museum in Baghdad right after Saddam was deposed. They can’t afford to pay the police, and most of them aren’t honest anyway. Getting those treasures to a first-world country seems like the best idea. Why wouldn’t those charities step in and buy the art? The blacks don’t care. And they have the Museum of African American art. Which, you might argue, is like comparing Rembrandt to Dogs Playing Poker. But still.

    • MBlanc46

      I haven’t been to Detroit in over a decade, but the last time I was there, the DIA was in good shape (unlike the downtown).

      • AndrewInterrupted

        I partied at Harpo’s Concert Theatre several times in the early 80’s.
        Saw several bands there. My girlfriend at the time worked for WABX.
        I think that radio station is defunked, but I think Harpo’s is still there?

        I was quite the field service vagabond back in the day. I wouldn’t go near Detroit now. I remember an awesome lake in Mio, MI called O’Brien Lake. That is probably still worth a visit.

        • MBlanc46

          I never get further east than Ann Arbor these days. They have their own Negro problem there, but it’s small change compared with Detroit.

  • bigone4u

    Let the fat cats throw their money down an endless black hole. Let them throw it all away and then dissolve themselves. They have never done anything for the white working or middle class that I am aware of. Let them have a last feel good hurrah and then let them go extinct.

    • WR_the_realist

      I think the last time a fat cat did something for the ordinary working class or middle class American was when Andrew Carnegie funded a bunch of libraries across the country. But in recent decades the funding is all about the diversity.

  • Detoilet is just going to waste the money. What these philanthropist dingbats are doing is postponing the inevitable. Detroit will still not be fiscally responsible. They ought to auction off that art collection before other bankrupt black-run cities have to do the same with theirs and thus saturate the market.

    It’s not like blacks go to art museums anyway; nobody in Detoilet will miss the paintings and sculptures.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    National and local philanthropic foundations have committed $330 million

    Millions if not billions of dollars will do nothing to help Detroit in the long run.

    Like all of the dollars forked over by Obama to Detroit, the money will be funneled into the pockets of union bosses and cronies and generally wasted.

    What would save Detroit? Move the welfare users and union pensioners to Washington DC and let the feds take care of them there.

    THEN, unleash Carzilla to tear down the city!!

    • NeanderthalDNA

      Funny twist on “Robocop” there…

    • Truth Teller

      Unionizing is freedom of association. It is protected by the constitution.

  • willbest

    First, lets dispel the notion of pension victim. The pensions are funded to 50-60%. That means these people won’t be on the street. Second, their union leaders negotiated contracts that allowed the city to avoid putting money into the pension fund, probably so they could bring bigger benefits to the workers. The leaders and workers gambled, and loss. Oops.

    The bondholders that Detroit owe money to have higher priority than the unions. Moreover, the Foundations are trying to buy the art for 40 cents on the dollar while dictating the guys in the lowest priority get the money.

    There is zero chance the bondholders sign off on this. The only way this goes through is if the bankruptcy laws get chucked out the window. Although with the GM bailout there is precedent for that.

    Of course then municipalities will find they have to pay significantly more for money in the future because who wants to loan a city money if they are just going to steal it when its time to pay the piper.

  • MBlanc46

    Fine. That sort of civil society intervention is the American way. But if whites don’t take control of Detroit, it will be bankrupt again within a few years.

  • Truth Teller

    It’s good the art will be gone from the cesspool. It’s bad that the money will be used to support the affirmative action slugs for the rest of their lives.
    The Ford Foundation is as much an enemy of Whites as the tribe. Ford Foundation funded the entire Brown vs. Topeka lawsuit. It funded every affirmative action lawsuit. It saved NAACP from bankruptcy and funded it from the year the Foundation was formed. It has been the mainstay of SPLC, ACLU and all the anti White organizations. It funded every school busing lawsuit.
    That article above about 90,000 ER admissions every year because of school violence is not just the fault of the Judges but the Ford Foundation that funded the desegregation and busing lawsuits.
    Ford Foundation invented the Hispanic race and created LARAZA and MALDEF in 1968.
    I owned a Ford. After I found out about Ford Foundation’s anti White program I never bought another and neither have my adult children. I know the Foundation is totally separate from the company, but Whites should boycott the company that uses the foundation to avoid taxes

    • WR_the_realist

      Not only is the Ford Foundation separate from Ford Motor Company but I am sure that the foundation has long since sold most of its Ford stock and diversified into other assets. So there is little to be gained in boycotting the car company. The Ford Foundation was created by Henry Ford to avoid confiscatory taxes. Had he known what the foundation would do I’m sure he would have rather just put all his money in a big pile and burned it.

  • Truth Teller

    Read Bon’s comment about pensions. It is a major program of liberals. It is called “pension equality.” You see, the problem is that all those people who don’t work have nothing but about $800.00 month SS! disability. So the feds and liberals want to raid our private pensions. My money is in an annuity. Obama has not yet mentioned annuities, but I am sre the feds will raid annuities as well as 401 K and teacher’s pensions etc.
    Considering the anti White bias and feminazi domination of the teaching profession, iI say confiscate the teacher’s and civil service pensions first. The civil service is exclusively non White, let them provide for their fellow non Whites.

    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      Oh, my pension is most likely long spent, this is California after all, with a Dem supermajority in the statehouse and greedy, Marxist politicians running the state:

      Administration officials estimate that the retirement system is underfunded by $80.4 billion…. State officials have said that it would take $4.5 billion a year for the next three decades to stabilize the pension fund.

      The state — hell, the entire country — is so broke, the polliticians are going to go after anything they can get their greedy hands on to feed the massive welfare state they’ve created…and just wait until obamacare and amnesty REALLY hit.

      • WR_the_realist

        For years nearly all local and state governments have been underfunding their pensions. They have all used the assumption that they can make at least an 8% annual return on their assets. But safe bonds pay only half that. The stock market goes up 20% one year and down 20% the next. A realistic expectation of returns would be about 4-5% per year. Over decades that 3-4% gap makes a huge difference, with the result that many pensions today are less than 50% funded. Of course the weaker economies and greater corruption in the diversity dominated states and cities only makes things worse.

        I work in the private sector and was never given any promise of getting a pension. The difference between me and state and municipal government workers is that nearly all of the latter think they’re getting a pension but are likely in for a rude surprise. Federal pensions are safe because the feds will print the money as needed. The rest of use will pay through inflation for the retirements of the federal nomenklatura.

  • eavesmac

    I don’t get it; why hasn’t Obama bailed them out? Just like GM? Those are HIS people, right?

  • WR_the_realist

    Probably the best thing that could happen to that Detroit Institute of Arts Museum would be if it did auction off its art. Then the works would at least wind up with someone who can appreciate them. I doubt that much of the current Detroit population does.

    • Katherine McChesney

      A few months ago I attended the Frist Museum’s installation of DIA’s most famous works of art. I was surprised to see a number of black attendees, most of whom looked to be high school and college students.

  • Brian

    DIA = DOA.

  • Max Krakah

    Ridiculous white people thinking they can “save” the negro. This will only postpone the inevitable. The money will disappear as soon as the negroes get their hands on it and , since they were given this much, they will now EXPECT people to give them as much and more when they are in trouble again, which won’t be very long.

  • Alex Dihes

    I am looking for an artist. I want to order a picture named: Detroiters visit the DIA.

    On the front there is the museum’s main entry and a COLORFUL line of Detroiters eagerly wanting to get in.

    In the background a line of tanks, cannons, army, police, navy with guns at-ready wading siege while leaving only one rout for escape – the mentioned vain entry.

  • bilderbuster

    How much do want to bet that the “Philanthropic Foundations” walk away with the priceless art for pennies on the dollar after the pension funds have been looted by the good citizens of Detroit & somehow the money they “donate” will find it’s way back to their pockets minus “the juice”?