$8M gift for Minneapolis Institute of Arts will pay for director position

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An $8 million gift to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts will pay the salary of the museum's director

The endowment gift was given by the Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Foundation, the Pioneer Press reports, to celebrate the free museum's upcoming 100th birthday and to support Director and President Kaywin Feldman, who has held the position since 2006.

The name will be attached to the position (similar to the way a company can get naming rights to a stadium, the Star Tribune points out), so Feldman officially becomes the "Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Director and President" of the MIA.

According to the Star Tribune, Feldman's salary will stay at $475,000 a year – but the gift will allow her salary to be covered for years on end. "In perpetuity" is how the Pioneer Press described it.

How does that work, exactly?

An endowment isn't just a one-time gift, About.com's nonprofit section explains. Instead, it's a sum of money where a specific principal amount has to be maintained.

Endowments can come with a whole host of different rules and restrictions, decided by the donor.

But generally the institution that gets the endowment gift – so in this case, the MIA – can spend the money that endowment generates above and beyond that maintained principal amount. So for example, any income from interest on the gift can be spent, or profits created by using that cash, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute explains.

(For more information on endowments, check out the Nonproft Quarterly's explanation.)

According to MPR, Feldman at the MIA says the endowment shows donors are committed to the museum, and also adds prestige to the position.

Nivin MacMillan is the widow of former Cargill heir Duncan MacMillan, who died in 2006, the Star Tribune reported.

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