John and Adrienne Mars Make Legacy Gift

January 26, 2015

John and Adrienne Mars have been great friends of the Smithsonian for more than three decades. They have generously shared their time and expertise through volunteer service and made many gifts of support across the Institution. A new gift from them furthers their commitment to the National Air and Space Museum and the National Zoological Park by endowing the director positions at the Air and Space Museum and at the Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. The positions are currently held, respectively, by John Dailey, eighth director of the Air and Space Museum, and Steve Monfort, founding director of the Institute. Both director positions now are named for John and Adrienne Mars. 

The Mars’ gift continues campaign’s momentum towards its goal of raising $350 million in endowment. Over the last year, the campaign raised more than $80 million in endowment through gifts from more than a hundred donors. Other examples of recent endowments include a fund for visual and performing arts programs at the National Museum of African Art, endowing the director of education and outreach position at the National Museum of American History and endowing a Chinese Art curator position at the Freer and Sackler Galleries.

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