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Foundation gives $15m to Central Mass. cultural institutions including Worcester Art Museum

The Worcester Art Museum will put its $4 million gift toward the endowment of its directorship.Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff/File/Globe Staff

The Myles & C. Jean McDonough Foundation announced Friday that it would award more than $15 million to seven cultural institutions in Worcester and other Central Massachusetts communities.

The gifts, which range in value from $4 million for the Worcester Art Museum to $500,000 for the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, are intended to ensure the long-term financial stability of the organizations, contributing to current capital campaigns and endowments.

"These extraordinary institutions have long been a part of the cultural heart of central Massachusetts," C. Jean McDonough said in a statement. "We felt the time was right to present each with a gift to show our continued adoration of the role each plays in our community, with the desire to support their initiatives for years to come."


The Worcester Art Museum's $4 million gift will go toward the endowing the museum's directorship, which will now be named in the McDonoughs' honor.

"It underscores the very deep roots and lasting impact the museum has in this city," museum director Matthias Waschek said in a statement that praised Jean McDonough's "exemplary dedication," which he said "has helped move WAM forward on many fronts."

The American Antiquarian Society, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, EcoTarium, the Worcester Historical Museum, and Music Worcester also received gifts ranging from $750,000 to $4 million.

"This gift is perhaps the biggest to the Worcester cultural community this century, if not of all time," Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. said in a statement. "I'm so grateful to the McDonough family for its overwhelming support of these vital pillars of our community."

Myles McDonough, who founded the FLEXcon Co., a manufacturer of adhesives, died in 2012.

"My late husband, Myles, and I have committed to the development and growth of Worcester's educational and cultural communities since 1960 when we moved here," said C. Jean McDonough. "I am happy to support these cultural institutions."


Malcolm Gay can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @malcolmgay.