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High Line Headquarters to Be Named The Diller – von Furstenberg Building

Monday, September 9th, 2013
A rendering of The Diller – von Furstenberg Building, the High Line's new operations center, located at the southern terminus of the park. Image by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Beyer Blinder Belle.

A rendering of The Diller – von Furstenberg Building, the High Line’s new operations center, located at the southern terminus of the park. Image by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Beyer Blinder Belle.

From Jennette Mullaney for thehighline.org/blog – In recognition of the extraordinary generosity of The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation are pleased to share the news that High Line Headquarters, our new maintenance and operations hub, will be named The Diller – von Furstenberg Building.

Located at the southern end of the High Line, adjacent to the future Whitney Museum of American Art, The Diller – von Furstenberg Building will be at the heart of everything we do. Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Beyer Blinder and Belle to reflect the historic warehouses and factories of the Meatpacking District and West Chelsea, our new four-story home will provide crucial facilities to manage, maintain, and operate the High Line. In addition to providing essential amenities for visitors, such as our southern elevator and public restrooms, it will house our gardeners, maintenance workers, educators, administrators, and public program staff in a space designed to meet the unique challenges of operating a 1.5-mile park that floats 30 feet in the air.

The Diller – von Furstenberg family has played a crucial role in the development of the High Line, making a total of $35 million in gifts and pledges to the High Line since 2005, including a $20 million pledge in 2011 that was, at the time, the largest gift to a public park in New York City history. Barry, Diane, Alexander, and Tatiana have been profound champions of this innovative adaptive reuse project, and shared the following about their commitment to the High Line: “We are so proud to have been part of the impossible dream of turning an old railroad into a green ribbon of trees and peace for everyone to enjoy.”

Today, with the public opening of the High Line at the Rail Yards scheduled for next year, we remain tremendously grateful to the Diller – von Furstenberg family for their steadfast support and dedication to our mission. We can think of no better way to acknowledge their special role in High Line history than at our future home: The Diller – von Furstenberg Building.

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Watch the building’s progress here:

http://www.thehighline.org/blog-tags/high-line-headquarters

DVFFF Funds Refurbishment of LA Basketball Courts

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Alex von Furstenberg, Ali Kay and The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation have teamed with the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and the Los Angeles Parks Foundation to sponsor the refurbishment of existing outdoor basketball courts throughout the City of LA.  The partnership, which took form in 2012, will manage the repair and upgrade of selected courts, including the installation of new asphalt court surfaces, cantilevered goal posts, tempered glass backboards, breakaway goal rings, nylon nets, and needed individual site-specific improvements. Courts are being considered on the basis of high use and severe need for repairs and equipment replacement.

Phase I, which concluded in Fall 2012, saw the refurbishment of four courts at the Venice Beach Recreation Center.  Just announced was the completion of Phase II, which addressed improvements at another seven courts throughout Glassell, Sepulveda and Mount Carmel Rec Centers, and Lafayette and Victory Vineland Parks.  Upgrades in excess of $325,000 were funded by The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, in support of the project.   

The LAPF is currently performing site evaluations for Phase III, the conclusive phase of the project, in which an additional eight courts are expected to undergo renovation.

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For more on the Venice Beach Basketball Court renovation and other LA Parks projects, visit:

http://www.laparksfoundation.org/EN/allprojets.html

Record $20 Million Gift to Help Finish the High Line Park

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

By Lisa W. Foderaro for The New York Times — Many visitors to the High Line, the popular park that wends above street level on the West Side of Manhattan, stop at its northern terminus and peer wistfully through a chain-link fence at the as-yet unreclaimed half-mile segment to the north. Until this week, the nonprofit conservancy that operates the High Line still needed to raise $85 million to finish the park and maintain it.

On Wednesday night, the conservancy took a major step toward that goal when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a $20 million gift to the High Line from the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation.

The gift, which will help build up the park’s endowment and pay for the design of the last section, is the single largest donation ever made to a New York City park, according to city officials.

It follows two previous donations totaling $15 million to the High Line from Barry Diller, chairman of IAC and Expedia, and his wife, the designer Diane von Furstenberg.

“It’s not surprising that Barry and Diane — visionaries that they are — got in early on the High Line project,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “But even better, they are seeing it through. Their generosity is leading the way for the High Line to become a New York icon that will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

The High Line is an unusual public-private partnership. The city paid most of the construction costs of the first two sections (the second opened earlier this year), which together run from Gansevoort to 30th Streets.

But Friends of the High Line, the conservancy that rallied to save the railway from demolition and raised money for its transformation into a park, assumed full responsibility for the cost of the operations from the start.

With three million annual visitors, 10 times what the founders of the conservancy initially envisioned, wear and tear, as well as educational programming, is a constant challenge for the 60-member staff.

“If you ask Josh or me what keeps us up at night, it’s not next year or whether we complete it — we know it will get done,” said Robert Hammond, co-founder of Friends of the High Line along with Joshua David. “It’s the maintenance, and this gives us security. Having an endowment gives us another revenue stream to fall back on in hard times.”

Annual operating costs for the park come to $3 million.

But perhaps just as important is the gift’s ability to propel Friends of the High Line toward the finish line: the railway’s endpoint at 34th Street. Now the curvaceous teak benches and ornamental grasses that make up the park’s northern landscaping stop abruptly at that chain-link fence.

On the other side is a jumble of weeds, rocks and old ladders. The future section, which hugs the West Side Railyards, runs west to 12th Avenue and then continues north to 34th Street.

That segment is owned by CSX Transportation, which is now in negotiations with city officials, as well as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other interested parties, on an agreement that would allow for public access. In 2005, CSX donated the portion of the High Line south of 30th Street to the city.

Adrian Benepe, commissioner of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said the talks dealt with a “very complicated site.” But he added that “everyone wants for the city to eventually” obtain the site for the High Line park.

Mr. David and Mr. Hammond estimate that the final half-mile stretch will cost up to $75 million to build, about the same as each of the first two half-mile sections. Given the constraints on the city’s budget, private sources will have to cover the initial capital expense, they said. Before the new gift, Friends of the High Line had raised about $65 million toward its $150 million fund-raising goal.

In a statement, Mr. Diller took the long view. “In a hundred years, people will be amazed that this park was ever built, and during all that time it will have given pleasure to such great numbers of people,” he said. “I’m glad that our family is able to pay a small role in making the High Line a reality.”

In a city of deep-pocketed philanthropists, the donation from Mr. Diller and Ms. von Furstenberg turned heads, not least because it went to a park rather than a cultural or educational institution. Previously, the largest private gift to a park was $17 million from the philanthropist Richard Gilder in 1993 to Central Park.

Friends of the High Line hopes that the $20 million donation will inspire additional giving.

That happened once before. After the Museum of Modern Art mounted a small exhibition of designs for the park in 2005, the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation made its first gift of $5 million, generating interest in the project. Then came a gift of $10 million from the foundation in 2009. Earlier this year, Tiffany and Company Foundation gave a $5 million challenge grant.

The return on those investments has been substantial; the first two sections of the High Line have generated more than $2 billion in planned or new development, city officials said. The park has also become a major tourist attraction, drawing a quarter of its visitors from outside the United States.

Gazing at the unfinished segment, Martin Oeggerli, 37, a photographer visiting from Switzerland, said he would like the park to keep going. “It would go straight to the Hudson and give you a great view,” he said.

Last week, when Mr. Diller told Friends of the High Line of the gift over the phone, the conference room erupted. “A large number of people on our staff burst into tears,” Mr. Hammond said.

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For additional coverage of the pledge, please click on the link below:

http://thehighline.org/news/2011/10/28/diller-von-furstenberg-family-foundation-makes-historic-20m-commitment

 

American Tall Ship Institute Receives Support from Alex von Furstenberg

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Alex von Furstenberg Lends Support to ATSI Youth Programming

Alexander von Furstenberg and The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation have granted a $10,000 endowment to the American Tall Ship Institute, an educational non-profit based in Oxnard, California targeted at youth ages 9-18.

Founded in 2007 by Captain Stephen Taylor, the mission of ATSI is to “encourage positive youth and community development through environmentally aware, curriculum-based, ocean-centered programs.”  Using ships as teaching tools to connect youth to the environment, ATSI partners with local youth service organizations, school districts and gang intervention programs.

Alex von Furstenberg has long supported educational and environmental programming in Southern California.  Alex recently pledged multi-year support to environmental organization Heal The Bay, and has sponsored day camps organized by Surfer’s Healing, another local non-profit that fuses a passion for the ocean with children’s causes.

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For more on the American Tall Ship Institute, please visit:

http://americantallship.org/mission.html