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The Thompson Family and Alan Siegel Named 2016 Outstanding Philanthropists

Thompson Family Alan Seigel
Caption: 2015 Gala, Photo: Patrick McMullan, Courtesy of Park Avenue Armory

(Arlington, VA)  The Thompson family and Alan Siegel have been named the 2016 Outstanding Philanthropists by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Angela Thompson, Amanda Riegel, Charles Thompson, and Alan Siegel, all of whom are directors and officers of The Thompson Family Foundation, will receive their award at the National Philanthropy Day Honors event during AFP’s 2017 International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco, April 30 – May 2, 2017. 

The Outstanding Philanthropist Award honors individuals with proven records of exceptional generosity who, through direct financial support, demonstrate outstanding civic and charitable responsibility, and whose generosity encourages others to take philanthropic leadership roles on a community, national and/or international level.

The Thompson Family Foundation was created by Wade F. B. Thompson, co-founder of Thor Industries, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of recreation vehicles. Mr. Thompson died in 2009.

During his lifetime, among other interests, Mr. Thompson was a tireless champion of preservation with a purpose. For more than 20 years one of his most passionate and hands-on projects was the restoration and conservation of New York City’s landmark Park Avenue Armory. This building occupies an entire city block and is home to one of the most important collections of 19th century interiors in the United States with 18 rooms designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, and the Herter Brothers. The Armory has a soaring 55,000 square feet, 80 feet high drill hall—which was considered an engineering feat when it was built in 1880—and remains one of the largest unobstructed indoor spaces in New York City. The building had such severe damage that it was named among the world’s most endangered landmarks by the World Monuments Fund in 2000. 

The Thompson Family Foundation has donated more than $85 million to ensure this architectural jewel in the heart of New York City was restored to its former glory while becoming a major international cultural center supporting ground breaking works in the performing and visual arts, as well as a venue for arts education initiatives for underserved public school students. 

In recognition of Mr. Thompson’s leadership and his family’s extraordinary vision, unwavering support and generosity, the spaces within the Armory building dedicated to the institution’s arts programming are named the Thompson Arts Center at Park Avenue Armory. 

Recent grants made by the Foundation include $25 million to the Central Park Conservancy to preserve and restore Belvedere Castle and the Children’s District and surrounding green space; and $1 million to The Equity Project Charter School (TEP), an innovative middle school in upper Manhattan serving primarily Hispanic children. Classes at the school are currently being held in trailers, and these funds will be used towards the construction of a school building. In addition, the Foundation has granted more than $1 million to the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning, which has developed a successful program to improve science and math curriculums—which are then made available to educators and students in the United States, Africa, and Latin America.

Some scientific projects include working with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (NYC) and Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel). To date, the Foundation has provided $18 million in funding for the development of a new, non-invasive treatment for prostate cancer, which will impact the quality of life and medical outcomes of millions of men (and women, as the treatment has the potential for affecting other forms of cancer as well).  Additionally, this support has fostered a unique collaborative partnership of physicians and scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Weizmann Institute to support cancer research.

The Foundation also provided a $15 million grant to Columbia University Medical Center to study the causes of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.

“Since 2012 the Thompson Family Foundation has contributed more than $145 million to over 80 charitable organizations and causes,said Alan Siegel. “The Foundation is focused on making grants that will have substantial impact on improving the lives of those in the greater New York area and that also honor its founder, Wade Thompson,” he added.

“The total giving and support that the directors of the Thompson Family Foundation have given to countless causes is extraordinary,” said Jason Lee, president and CEO of AFP. “But what’s even more extraordinary is the leadership and long-term dedication they bring to the table, inspiring so many others to get involved. It is critical that we recognize those who lead so effectively, and AFP is honored to present this award to such deserving and impressive individuals.”

The National Philanthropy Day® Honors recognize outstanding leadership, commitment and generosity in philanthropy. More information about the Thompson Family Foundation can be obtained by contacting Michael Nilsen at (425) 241-4675 or mnilsen@afpnet.org.

 

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Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has inspired global change—helping nonprofits and charities and supporting fundraising efforts that have generated more than $1 trillion.  AFP advances effective and ethical philanthropy by providing advocacy, research, education, mentoring, collaboration and technology opportunities for the world’s largest network of professional fundraisers. AFP’s more than 33,000 members in the U.S. raise over $115 billion annually, equivalent to more than one-third of charitable giving in North America, with millions more generated around the world. For more information, go to www.afpnet.org.



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