Target donates to U

The company gave $5 million to help fund planned expansions and constructions.

by Rebecca Bentz

A gift card from Target usually comes from grandma and costs about $20. But the company’s recent gift to the University totals $5 million and doesn’t even have to be spent at the store.

Target’s donation gives $2 million for the Weisman Art Museum, $2 million for the future TCF Bank Stadium and $1 million for the Carlson School of Management, said Martha Douglas, director of communications at the University of Minnesota Foundation.

According to the foundation’s 2006 annual report, corporations, foundations and organizations donated $58 million to the University. And in fiscal year 2006, the Carlson School received more than $7.75 million in donations.

The Weisman will use the donation to fund a new wing, she said. The addition will include the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration, an area where artists can work together on projects, and museum visitors can see them in action.

The area will also contain more space for exhibits. Architect Frank Gehry, who designed the original building, will also be planning the new addition. Designs for the wing will be released in March, Douglas said.

The Carlson School’s million will also fund an addition, according to a University statement. Construction has already started on the Herbert M. Hanson Jr. Hall, which will house an expansion to the undergraduate program. The expansion will increase undergraduate enrollment in the Carlson School by 50 percent, the statement said.

University President Bob Bruininks said in the statement the program’s expansion will help put the University ahead of its peers.

“Increasing the size of our undergraduate business program helps Minnesota by attracting high-potential students to the ‘U’ and keeping them in Minnesota as a part of our community,” he said.

The donation will also help fund TCF Bank Stadium.

The University plans to raise 45 percent of the stadium cost – about $112 million, according to the University’s Web site. Corporate sponsorship and donations like Target’s cover a large portion of the cost.

Amy von Walter, a Target spokeswoman, said the donation was made in support of the company’s commitment to education, art and design.

“By supporting these key University projects, we are able to directly impact many members of the Twin Cities community – from students, to educators, to arts patrons, to athletes,” she said.

“The gift to the University allows us to support educational experiences for students at the collegiate level, which in turn helps to create a talented workforce for the future.”

Target has a history of involvement with the University. The corporation helped fund programs at the Carlson School and the Weisman, the Goldstein Gallery (now the Goldstein Museum of Design), the Design Institute’s Design Camp, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and other projects.

Bruininks said Target’s donations will help the University in its quest to be one of the world’s top public universities.

“We’re grateful to Target for their generous support of the University of Minnesota,” he said. “Target’s gift will support three important capital projects that will build on our academic mission, improve the student experience and add to the entire state’s quality of life.”