Vinik Family Foundation Makes Historic Gift to the Tampa Museum Of Art

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$5 Million Endowment Dedicated to Support Sustainable Leadership; Largest Gift Ever Made to Institution’s Foundation

Jeff and Penny Vinik.

Jeff and Penny Vinik.

Our gift is a way to celebrate the Museum’s upcoming centennial anniversary and support TMA directors as they continue to lead one of Tampa’s most acclaimed cultural institutions.

The Tampa Museum of Art today announced that the Vinik Family Foundation will make a $5 million gift to the Museum’s endowment. The landmark gift will name and endow the position of Executive Director, whose title will be known as the Penny and Jeff Vinik Executive Director of the Tampa Museum of Art.

This, the largest gift made to the Museum’s endowment fund in the institution’s history, is made possible by the Vinik Family Foundation (VFF), founded by Penny and Jeff Vinik, long-time patrons and donors of the Tampa Museum of Art. Penny, who has held various board positions throughout the years, has also co-chaired the Museum’s strategic planning committee and led the executive search committee during the hiring of Executive Director, Dr. Michael Tomor. Currently, Penny serves as vice-chair on the Museum’s board of trustees.

In Fall 2018, VFF loaned Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Room LOVE IS CALLING to the Tampa Museum of Art. An immersive, experiential work of art, LOVE IS CALLING invited visitors to enter a mirrored room with tentacle-like soft sculptures featuring with Kusama's signature polka dots and changing colors hanging from the ceiling and positioned on the floor. The exhibition was part of TMA’s Season of Love, a series of three exhibitions that shared the theme of love, presented by the Vinik Family Foundation. The Vinik’s ongoing generosity and endowment gift to the Museum is yet another signal that the Vinik’s aim to support the causes they are passionate about.

“We’ve been so excited and inspired by Dr. Michael Tomor’s leadership and vision for the future, in particular his passion for securing the viability of the Museum for generations to come. We want to ensure the stability and financial security of this position,” said Penny Vinik.

“We are very proud of the Tampa Museum of Art as an institution and as a vital part of the city in which we live and work,” stated Jeff Vinik. “Our gift is a way to celebrate the Museum’s upcoming centennial anniversary and support TMA directors as they continue to lead one of Tampa’s most acclaimed cultural institutions.”

“This landmark gift will support the initiatives of the Museum’s strategic plan for years to come,” said Debra Williams, President of the Museum’s foundation board. “Endowment gifts are invested permanently and only the earnings are used for the donors’ intention. The original gift therefore remains intact in perpetuity generating income for the Museum’s operations for future generations. We are grateful to Penny and Jeff Vinik and the Vinik Family Foundation for the value they place on the Museum and its leadership.”

Executive Director Michael Tomor remarked, “I am honored by this transformative gift to the Museum, and we are all grateful to the Vinik’s for their continued support. There is no greater legacy gift than a gift to the endowment, and this sets a strong foundation for future leadership to build on.”

Vinik Family Foundation (VFF) is a private foundation created and managed by Jeff and Penny Vinik. Founded in 1997, VFF has donated over $100 million to nonprofits working in the areas of education, human services, healthcare, and the arts. VFF is especially dedicated to broadening the public’s understanding of art through inclusive, interactive exhibits and installations.

Under the umbrellas of the Vinik Family Foundation and the Lightning Foundation, the Viniks have invested significantly in Tampa Bay area charities through a variety of initiatives - the most notable being the Lightning Community Heroes program, which honors grass-roots heroes with $50,000 each for their respective non-profits at every Lightning home game.

Vinik has ventured into development and over the last several years has moved forward with his vision to develop some 60 acres in downtown Tampa. Water Street Tampa includes donated land and financial support to house the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine & Heart Institute downtown. The walkable waterfront community will also feature corporate office buildings, a hotel, residences, retail, restaurants, and entertainment options. In Tampa, Penny Vinik is a board member of the Tampa Museum of Art and she chairs a community arts initiative that enables Tampa Bay-based artists to display their works throughout Amalie Arena and to bring exhibits such as The Beach and The Art of the Brick to Tampa Bay as free events that are open to the public. Penny is also at the forefront of organizing the annual Celebration of the Arts, a juried exhibition that displays the works of hundreds of local and regional artists.

Jeff & Penny Vinik moved to Tampa in 2012 after Jeff acquired the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team. After 20 plus years in Boston, the Viniks were thrilled to experience the warmth of Tampa Bay - both in the weather and in the people. They have been embraced by the Tampa Bay community in an exceptional manner and they are pleased to reciprocate this friendship whenever and wherever they can.

Jeff initially moved his company, Vinik Asset Management to Tampa but soon closed it to focus on the Lightning and the redevelopment of the district surrounding Amalie Arena. In partnership with Cascade Investment, the investment arm of the Gates Foundation, Jeff and his real estate development company, Strategic Property Partners are diligently working on the re-imagining of 50 acres in downtown Tampa. In addition to this “small” project, Jeff likes to travel with his family and, of course, cheer on the Bolts!

Penny currently serves on the Board of the Tampa Museum of Art and she is also an Ambassador for the non-profit, Dress for Success. In August 2016, she and Jeff were pleased to bring The Beach Tampa by Snarkitecture to Amalie Arena. Following the tremendous response to this installation, they presented The Art of the Brick Tampa in summer 2017, welcoming over 135,000 guests to experience the art of Nathan Sawaya free of charge.

Founded in 1920, the Tampa Museum of Art inspires the residents of the Tampa Bay region and others around the world by providing engaging exhibitions and innovative educational programs that emphasize ancient, modern and contemporary art. As the Tampa Museum of Art nears its 100th anniversary, its exhibitions in part will focus on the breadth of the institution’s growing permanent collection.

The Museum houses one of the largest Greek and Roman antiquities collections in the southeastern United States. As one of the region’s largest museums devoted to the art of our time, the Museum’s collection also embraces sculpture, photography, painting, new media, and more. With a 14,000 square-foot LED installation of Leo Villareal’s Sky (Tampa) illuminating the south façade and the Museum’s 23 foot tall cast iron sculpture Laura with Bun by Jaume Plensa silhouetted in front of the north façade, the Tampa Museum of Art stands as an iconic landmark of downtown Tampa.

Year-round creative classes offered both on-site and at various locations throughout Hillsborough County provide children, teens, and adults with opportunities to discover new skills and learn different art-making techniques. The Museum brings together local, national and international artists and scholars to inspire visitors to take part in exhibitions and art discourse through lectures, tours, and community partnerships.

While shopping for unique exhibition-related objects at the Museum Store or enjoying handcrafted meals, coffee, and gelato at the Riverwalk Cafe at TMA, visitors can take in the views of Tampa’s scenic riverfront and see why the Museum also serves as one of Tampa’s premier venues for special private events. Located in the heart of downtown, next to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Tampa’s Riverwalk, the Tampa Museum of Art leads as both a cultural institution and a community museum dedicated to celebrating the diversity of its home city.

The Museum opens daily at 10 a.m. Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday*, Saturday & Sunday 10a.m. – 5p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. *Fourth Fridays from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The Museum’s phone number is 813.274.8130 and the website is The Museum’s address is 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza. Tampa, FL 33602.

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Nancy Seijas-Kipnis
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