Museum of American Finance Founder
Makes Final Visionary Gift to Institution
Trustees honored John Herzog for his legacy of giving at a reception on May 17
John Herzog, founder of the Museum of American Finance, was honored by the trustees on May 17, 2016. Coincidentally, it was also the birthday of the New York Stock Exchange which opened on May 17, 1792. The evening began with a cocktail reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the museum. A Wall Street veteran, John E. Herzog announced a final $5 million gift to the Museum of American Finance, the New York institution he founded more than 25 years ago. Herzog established the Museum in response to the Crash of ’87 and has been the institution’s largest donor ever since.
Herzog’s most recent gift, which he announced to the Museum’s Board of Trustees on his 80th birthday, represents the sum he had earmarked for the institution in his will. His gift echoes the advice of Andrew Carnegie, who advocated philanthropy within one’s lifetime.
“This final gift is a display of my confidence in the ability of the Museum’s leadership to successfully carry it into the future and sustain it as a permanent institution,” said Herzog.
During the cocktail reception, Chairman Richard Sylia, made a few opening remarks before introducing John Herzog. He shared how he felt like an extended member of Herzog’s family. Sylia went on to say that “Finance is not just great for business and government. It’s good for all of us. Finance is the technology of moving things backward and forward. Think retirement savings and mortgage loans”.
In 2010, Herzog stepped down as Chairman of the Board and became Trustee Emeritus, making way for new leadership and a new class of Trustees poised to usher the institution into the future. Since then, the Museum has added 28 new Trustees and has greatly expanded its individual and corporate donor bases.
“We are extraordinarily grateful to John for his support of the Museum over nearly three decades,” said Chairman Richard Sylla. “However, like any non-profit institution, the Museum’s future depends on a broad commitment from a variety of donors, members and constituents.”
Vice-Chair, Andrea de Cholnoky stated, “We’re very excited about the future of this unique cultural institution that teaches and preserves the history of finance”.
Herzog’s speech culminated in the presentation of a giant-sized check for 5 million dollars which was met with rousing applause.
In addition to increasing the size and stature of its Board, the Museum has also engaged new audiences through enhancements to its educational and programmatic offerings. Many of its educational initiatives now focus on promoting personal financial literacy, which is lacking in both children and adults across nearly every segment of the population.
Mr.Herzog spoke about all the books on financial literacy that remained on the shelf. As a result, the museum opened its doors to students.” I’m confident that the next generation will take responsibility for this unique opportunity”. He referenced the Broadway show, Hamilton, as reminding people of the importance of these issues. Lin Manuel-Miranda, the composer of the show, came to the museum to do research and gave an early performance there before Hamilton launched on Broadway.
The Museum is always seeking increased participation from financial firms – both as donors and as programmatic partners – while serving as a neutral public forum for addressing topical financial issues and events. In the past two years, the Museum has presented more than 50 programs on a wide variety of current – and often forward-looking – topics, ranging from Bitcoin to IPOs to electronic trading.
About the Museum of American Finance
The Museum of American Finance, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is the nation’s only independent museum dedicated to finance, entrepreneurship and the open market system. With its extensive collection of financial documents and objects, its seminars and educational programming, its publication and oral history program, the Museum portrays the breadth and richness of American financial experience, achievement and practices. The Museum is located at 48 Wall Street. For more information, visit www.moaf.org or connect with the Museum on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @FinanceMuseum.
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