• April 23, 2014

A Big Donor Volunteers to Give Back Naming Rights to Help Fundraising

12042013 allen room

Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

The Lincoln Center's Allen Room

A New York financial company that paid $10-million to put its name permanently on a prominent Lincoln Center building has made an unusual philanthropic gesture: It has offered to give the space to another donor—in the hopes that the organization can attract at least $10-million more.

Allen & Company said it wanted to mark the 10th anniversary of its gift by helping Jazz at Lincoln Center, a 26-year-old nonprofit, as it seeks to increase its $16-million endowment.

The idea came from Herbert Allen, the financial company’s founder and a longtime donor to the nonprofit, says Dwayne Ashley, chief development officer of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

But Mr. Ashley says he hopes the company's offer will embolden more nonprofits to ask donors to give up their naming rights as a way to increase fundraising.

He said that he and his colleagues think they may be able to get even more than the original $10-million to rename the space, a fifth-floor amphitheater with a glass wall overlooking Central Park. The room has been the site of shows by well-known performers such as Wynton Marsalis, Willie Nelson, and Lou Reed, and several popular television programs have been filmed there.

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