Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art

Restitution, Education, Preservation

aka Monuments Men Foundation   |   DALLAS, TX   |  www.monumentsmenfoundation.org

Mission

The purpose of the Monuments Men Foundation is to raise public awareness of the importance of protecting and safeguarding civilization's most important artistic and cultural treasures from armed conflict by preserving the legacy of the unprecedented and heroic work of the men and women who served in the Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives program of the Unites States Armed Forces, known as "Monuments Men," during World War II

Ruling year info

2007

President

Ms. Anna Bottinelli

Main address

4447 N CENTRAL EXPWAY #STE 110 - 338

DALLAS, TX 75205 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

26-0272887

NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In WWII, the men and women of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section (MFAA), known as the Monuments Men, rescued almost 5 million paintings, drawings, sculpture and religious objects. Thousands remain missing, though. The Monuments Men Foundation (MMF) preserves their legacy today by continuing to return cultural treasures lost during the war to their rightful owners. As the wartime generation passes, however, public consciousness of the issue diminishes and opportunities to locate and return objects lessen. The foundation bridges the awareness gap by educating and inspiring the public with the Monuments Men's story. These efforts are costly. An ever-increasing backlog of restitution cases requires laborious research by experts and the education initiatives demand full-time staffing. Without financial support, MMF cannot carry on the work of the Monuments Men and Women or preserve the legacy of those who saved some of civilization's greatest artistic and cultural achievements.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Restitution of Artworks missing since WWII

Despite the success of the Monuments Men, hundreds of thousands of cultural objects remain missing. Many are in the United States. The Foundation continues the work of the Monuments Men by locating and returning these objects to their rightful owners.
The assistance of the general public through tips and other information is vital to the success of our mission. If you have information about a work of art or other cultural item taken during World War II, please contact us.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of accolades/recognition received from third-party organizations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The foundation received the National Humanities Medal for its work and also helped the Monuments Men receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States.

Number of Facebook followers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The foundation seeks an increase of 50% or above on account likes of its Facebook page.

Number of phone calls/inquiries

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The foundation routinely receives new public inquiries via phone and email weekly. These contacts range from historical questions about the Monuments Men to leads on potential restitution cases.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Monuments Men Foundation has a multi-faceted mission. Its central goal is to honor the legacy of the men and women of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section, sent by the government to war zones during WWII to protect important cultural treasures from the ravages of war. MMF does this principally by carrying on the restitution work of the original Monuments Men and Women, locating and returning to their rightful owners, institutions, or governments works of art and cultural objects lost during the war, oftentimes brought home by soldiers as souvenirs. The foundation has logged hundreds of missing art tips designated for assessment and case assignment, and this number grows continually.

In addition to locating and returning works of art and other cultural objects, the foundation will put the remarkable legacy of the Monuments Men and Women to work through education efforts. The Monuments Men and Women were stewards and guardians of objects of beauty and achievement that define us as a civilization. The foundation wishes to instill in the public the same call to service that drove MFAA Section members to enter into the world's most cataclysmic war. MMF is developing custom-designed programs in schools and museums that tells the story of the Monuments Men and Women. These programs not only educate and inform our youth, but they challenge them to become the Monuments Men and Women of tomorrow, inspiring future leaders and promoting an appreciation for our shared cultural heritage.

The foundation also aims to preserve the remarkable legacy of those in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Section who safeguarded civilization’s treasures during the world’s most devastating conflict. It does so by urging institutions and individuals in the United States and abroad to know about the wartime provenance of objects in their collection. For the nation's fighting forces today, MMF hopes to see a reestablishment of the standards for the protection of our shared cultural heritage that defined the remarkable legacy of the original Monument Men and Women. With world governments facing ever increasing demands for funding, the foundation's work fills a critical gap; no nation has the financial resources to fund the preservation of all of its national treasures. Consequently, safeguarding our shared cultural heritage for future generations depends on informing and inspiring current leaders and our youth to meet the challenges ahead. It is an ambitious objective, but one that pales in comparison to what confronted the handful of Monuments Officers who conceived of the concept of cultural preservation in the midst of the most destructive war in history. What they achieved not only informs the mission of the foundation, it serves as an inspiring guide to students, educators, military and world leaders, and the general public.

In order to fulfill its restitution mission, the foundation will continue to engage the public, leveraging its past work and the notoriety of a best-selling book and high-profile Hollywood film about the Monuments Men. Return ceremonies are vitally important to this cause, as they illustrate the restitution process, encourage others to come forward, and serve as evidence of the outcome of donations to MMF. The visibility of the MMF's work is aided by numerous media and law enforcement contacts, which helps to highlight problematic cases and influence their outcome.

MMF is developing educational programs with global reach through strategic partnerships, technology, and social media. Plans are in development to assist schools and museums in enhancing the appreciation of art and cultural heritage among the youth, tackling important subjects (the Holocaust, art preservation, WWII, situational ethics) in new and age-appropriate ways. Daily social media updates and regular website additions also serve as educational tools. MMF's partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Center offers presentations about the Monuments Men and Women, and these will be extended to other libraries and institutions across the nation. A new permanent gallery at the National WWII Museum will provide an opportunity for over 750,000 annual visitors to learn about the Monuments Men and Women. The foundation is also designing a traveling public exhibition to reach audiences across the country. Foundation staff also routinely provide assistance to students and teachers who use the Monuments Men story for papers, classes, or theses and dissertations. MMF staff have conducted webinars and workshops and delivered presentations to local schools, delivering content that meet the wishes and curricula needs of educators. The foundation also plans to develop an annual Monuments Men Award to be bestowed on an individual or institution that best upholds the principles and ideals of the Monuments Men and Women.

The foundation is dedicated to promoting the legacy of the MFAA members. MMF staff have researched and written comprehensive biographies on all of the original 345 Monuments Men and Women, creating a free-to-use searchable database on the foundation’s website available to scholars and the general public and will be part of the immersive experience of the National WWII Museum's Monuments Men gallery set to open in 2021. The MMF continues to develop an ongoing relationship with current-serving US Army Civil Affairs soldiers who are oftentimes deployed to global conflict areas. The foundation will strengthen these relationships and provide guidance on how to build on the legacy of their WWII predecessors. The MMF will also enhance its working relationships with major national and international policing forces responsible for protecting cultural property, including the FBI Art Looting team and the Cultural Heritage Protection Unit of the Carabinieri (Italian Military Police).

In dealing with restitution projects, the Monuments Men Foundation has a small staff of researchers who are highly skilled professionals. They routinely manage hundreds of leads related to works of art and precious objects and receive multiple leads weekly. The majority of these are generated through a reporting portal on the foundation's website and a toll-free tip line [1-866-WWII-ART, or 1-866-994-4278], the first service of its kind. Both provide a straightforward path for people of good will who may be in possession or have knowledge of missing objects to come forward with vital information. Many of the foundation’s successful returns have been the result of these types of leads, and it is a proven method of broadening the search for such objects. Of the potential restitution cases, there are currently more than 100 open reports. Each demands anywhere from a few hours of provenance research to possibly weeks of intensive team effort.

The foundation is capable of meeting its goals of preparing future leaders by leveraging more than a decade in the public consciousness. Academy-Award winner George Clooney directed and starred in the "Monuments Men", a film based on the best-selling non-fiction book of the same name by foundation Founder and Chairman Robert Edsel. Screened in more than 100 countries, it greatly contributed to the public discussion of protecting our shared cultural heritage and ultimately raised awareness about MMF's mission. The foundation's work has made the protection of monuments and other cultural property a “fashionable” subject for our youth. It has raised awareness of the work done by professionals who have labored for years doing work critical to the protection of countless monuments and other cultural sites. The foundation’s role making others aware of these heroes’ achievements has influenced recent announcements by the United Kingdom and the United States of their respective intentions to reconstitute modern-day Monuments Men units within their armed forces. In the years ahead, the foundation is committed to encouraging other nations to do the same.

With regard to meeting its related goal of preserving the heroes' legacy, the foundation will continue to encourage institutions in the United States and abroad to reestablish the standard for the protection of cultural property that defined the military service of the Monuments Men. The foundation will also educate individuals and communities about the wartime provenance of objects in their collection in compliance with the American Association of Museum’s best practices guidelines concerning Nazi-era provenance. Additionally, encouraging cultural and educational institutions impacted by the Monuments Men and Women – which includes most every major museum and university in the United States – to honor their wartime service and professional legacy through some form of permanent on-site recognition will help raise awareness of the restitution work left to do.

From its founding, the Monuments Men Foundation had an ambitious mission statement: honor the heroes, complete their mission, preserve their legacy, and reestablish the standard for the protection of cultural property that defined their military service. MMF has raised worldwide awareness about the service of the original MFAA and honored their achievements. Without the aid of any lobbyists, in 2014 the foundation helped secure the passage of a bill in Congress to recognize the work of the Monuments Men and Women. Signed into law by President Barack Obama, it awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to MFAA members of all fourteen nations, our nation’s highest civilian honor. The foundation has also received prominent recognition for its work. In 2007, President George W. Bush presented it with the National Humanities Medal — the nation’s highest honor for work in the humanities — for its efforts preserving the legacy of the scholar-soldiers who protected cultural property during the world’s most destructive war. MMF is one of only three foundations to ever receive this distinction.

The foundation has regularly made highly visible announcements about cultural objects and works of art that it located and returned to individuals, museums, and archives in the United States and abroad. Each was a clarion call to enlist the public’s help in finding other missing objects. To date, MMF has been involved in the successful restitution of more than 30 objects. Paintings and drawings, tapestries, rare books, and documents now reside with private entities, public museums and libraries, and national archives due to the efforts of the foundation. MMF has earned a reputation among the public and within professional circles as a respectable and leading institution for this task; it is the only nonprofit institution in the world following the example of the Monuments Men and Women, returning cultural objects without seeking compensation.

As the foundation begins its second decade of operations, its focus has shifted to longer term objectives. Although its restitution mission remains central, MMF is also developing educational initiatives that will prepare future leaders as well as preserve the remarkable legacy of the Monuments Men and Women. The foundation will continue to encourage institutions and individuals around the world to learn about and recognize the wartime provenance of objects in their collections, potentially revealing the whereabouts of long-lost items and beginning their path toward restitution. As part of its educational initiatives, the MMF is also developing programs to assist schools and museums enhancing the appreciation of art and cultural heritage as an essential part of understanding humankind. As a whole, these efforts continue the work of the original Monuments Men and Women, heroes who believed they had a responsibility to civilization to protect the very cultural achievements that defined it.

Financials

Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art
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Operations

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Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art

Board of directors
as of 09/17/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Robert Edsel

Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art

Kristen Mapes

Monuments Men Foundation

Rita Bargerhuff Egeland

Monuments Men Foundation

Christine Schuepbach

Monuments Men Foundation