When Adrienne Arsht made a $30 million gift and put her name on Miami’s ailing performing-arts center, everyone around her told her it was a mistake to embrace the sick project. But her gift, and the energy she added to the center, not only turned around its fortunes, but boosted the whole surrounding neighborhood.
Daughter of the first female judge in Delaware, Arsht became a lawyer, moved to D.C., and began hosting an ecumenical mix of guests at her home salons. In 1996 she relocated to Miami to run TotalBank. She expanded it from four to 14 locations and quadrupled its assets to $1.4 billion. Its sale in 2007 was the occasion for her gift to the performing-arts center.
The arts have always been a central focus of her philanthropy: $5 million for musical theater at the Kennedy Center. $11 million to renovate Lincoln Center. Board membership at many cultural organizations as well as the Atlantic Council, where her recent focus has been on resilience—a theme closely connected to her giving in the arts, and her own biography.
Read Arsht’s full interview with Philanthropy magazine, the quarterly publication of The Philanthropy Roundtable, here.
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Individual resilience can be encouraged. You can learn from watching others, and decide, "I'm not going to give up either."
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