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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and 13 Charities to Receive $123 Million Bequest

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) jointly announced today the largest-ever cash gifts to both organizations totaling $115 million. The record gifts will help acquire additional works of art and support medical research. Thirteen additional charitable organizations will receive the remaining $10 million.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The trusts, created in the 1950s by Arthur Graham and Margaret Branch Glasgow, terminated earlier this summer with the death of their son-in-law, Ambrose Congreve 104, in London. VMFA, VCU and the other charities will receive the gifts according to percentages set forth in the trusts of Mr. and Mrs. Glasgow. These will be the largest cash gifts to both VMFA and VCU. Nearly $70 million will go to VMFA to create a restricted art purchase endowment and to support its recent expansion, and approximately $45 million will go to VCU to support the cure and prevention of cancer and other degenerative diseases.

The additional $10 million is being distributed to other nonprofit organizations, most of them in the greater Richmond area. They are Sheltering Arms Hospital, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, Jenkins Foundation, Virginia Home, Children’s Hospital of Richmond, Virginia Healthcare Foundation, Historic Richmond Foundation, Virginia Historical Society, Second Presbyterian Church of Richmond, St. Paul’s Church of Richmond, Washington and Lee University, Wabash College (Ind.) and the Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ).

“Arthur and Margaret Glasgow’s family history with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts goes back to our founding,” Director Alex Nyerges said. “This gift joins other milestone endowment gifts, such as James and Frances McGlothlin’s bequest of $30 million in addition to their American Art collection, the J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Endowment for American Art, and the A.D and W.C. Williams Endowment.

“These Virginians’ philanthropy further strengthens the museum’s position as one of the nation’s top 10 art museums by allowing us to expand the depth of our collection and scope of the impact the arts have on the entire state of Virginia,” Nyerges said.

In recognition of this significant estate gift, VMFA has renamed its Heritage Society (for planned giving donors) the Glasgow Society.

For VCU, the gift marks the second substantial donation this year – James and Frances McGlothlin donated $25 million to the VCU School of Medicine in April – and comes on the heels of last year’s $20 million National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award for VCU to join a prestigious group of research universities nationwide working to speed discoveries from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside.

“This is the kind of gift that helps elevate a university even further,” VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., said. “As a major research university, a gift of this magnitude enables us to support the people, facilities and programs necessary to make a difference in peoples’ lives and in the health of our community. We are so very grateful to Margaret and Arthur Glasgow for their generosity and foresight with this gift, which will benefit Richmond and beyond.”

Born in Richmond on Oct. 4, 1876, Margaret Elizabeth Branch was the daughter of John Patteson Branch and Mary Louise Merritt Kerr Branch. Her father was prominent in Richmond banking and investment circles. She married Arthur Glasgow, of Botetourt County, Va., in October 1901. The couple’s only child, Marjorie, married Ambrose Congreve in 1935.

Mr. Glasgow worked as an engineer at a number of gaslight and power companies from 1885-1891. In 1892, he formed a partnership with Alexander Humphreys to establish Humphreys & Glasgow, an engineering firm in London that specialized in building gas plants. He served as chairman until 1939. Mrs. Glasgow died in August 1952 and was followed by Mr. Glasgow in October 1955. Both are buried in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery.

In 1909, Mrs. Glasgow’s father also opened one of the city’s first bathhouses across the street from Monroe Park, and the façade of that building has become the façade for Gladding Residence Center on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus. Mrs. Glasgow was a cousin of James Branch Cabell, for whom the library on the Monroe Park Campus is named. Mr. Glasgow’s sister was the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ellen Glasgow.

About Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
With a collection of art that spans the globe and more than 5,000 years, plus a wide array of special exhibitions, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) is recognized as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. The museum’s permanent collection encompasses more than 23,000 works of art, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside Russia and one of the nation’s finest collections of American Art, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. VMFA is home to acclaimed collections of English Silver and Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British Sporting and Modern & Contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan and African art. In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its 75-year history. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus fun after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit

About VCU
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 211 certificate and degree programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University compose the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see

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