Big Boston 2024 donors are in a wait-and-see mode
Putnam Investments chief executive Bob Reynolds ponied up at least $100,000 in the first round of fundraising to support Boston’s Olympic bid. He’s vowed to give more personally and even have Putnam itself make a contribution – but not now.
“This has a ways to go,” said Reynolds. “It would be an annual type of process – as needed.”
Reynolds isn’t the only donor in a wait-and-see mode, even as time could be running out on Boston’s improbable bid for the 2024 Summer Games. With public support lagging, the United States Olympic Committee wants to see more favorable poll numbers before officially moving Boston into the next phase in September.
Bank of America, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Liberty Mutual are among companies that gave in the initial fundraising round but haven’t opened their wallets again for Boston 2024, the privately-funded group behind the Olympic effort. Through the end of March, the group raised more than $14 million and will need about $75 million over the next two years to prepare a formal bid.
Bank of America spokesman Jim Mahoney said the company, which contributed at least $500,000 in the first round, expects to give more in the future. Meanwhile, Dunkin’ is providing only in-kind marketing support this year.
Liberty Mutual spokesman John Cusolito in an e-mail explained that the insurer gave $250,000 last fall so Boston 2024 could conduct a study of the region’s infrastructure needs, something that would be valuable whether or not Boston ending up hosting the Olympics.
But beyond that, Cusolito noted that “[w]e don’t consider ourselves members of Boston 2024 and haven’t given other donations.”
Reynolds, who serves on the board of Boston 2024, said he remains enthusiastic about the region’s bid, despite a rocky start.
“I’m a realist. It’s a dynamic process. These things never go as exactly as planned,” said Reynolds. “None of this is a surprise. Everyone knew it was never going to be easy.”