Bruce Museum earns top financial designation from Charity Navigator

December 25, 2018

GREENWICH — The Bruce Museum has been awarded the highest designation for financial management by an organization that rates nonprofit institutions.

The Bruce Museum won the commendation from Charity Navigator, which bills itself as the nation’s largest charity evaluator. The trade organization helps steer donors to nonprofits that use their financial resources in the most efficient and ethical manner, according to Charity Navigator.

Only a quarter of the institutions rated by Charity Navigator receive four stars, the designation earned by the Greenwich museum.

“Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support the Bruce Museum,” Michael Thatcher, president of Charity Navigator, said in a statement.

Charity Navigator used 17 metrics, including governance and ethical practices, as well as measures of openness, for its ratings methodology. The organization measures a charity against best industry practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders.

The designation was welcomed by the staff at the Bruce.

“Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters our good governance and financial accountability. And it represents our ongoing commitment to operating at the highest standards,” said Bill Ference, chief financial officer at the Bruce Museum.

The Museum building and its collections are resources owned by the town of Greenwich and held in trust.

The museum got an overall score of 91 out of 100, on a combined score of its financial practices, as well as its accountability and openness policies. Charity Navigator looks at the IRS Form 990, filed by nonprofits, to make its assessments.

According to Charity Navigator, a key metric is the percentage of the charity’s total expenses spent on the programs. At the Bruce Museum, that figure is 78.2 percent.

Administrative expenses at the Bruce account for 4.4 percent of its spending. The full scorecard is available at www.charitynavigator.org, and then by entering the Bruce Museum’s name.

The Bruce Museum this fall began construction work that is just the start of a much larger project.

When the $45 million expansion is completed over the next several year, the Bruce will have a new look inside and out that bring in more visitors, showcase new art collections, triple the science-education space and provide new spaces for social events.

The centerpiece of the Bruce’s expansion plan is a 40,000-square-foot addition, doubling the current size of the museum that overlooks Long Island Sound.

Work is wrapping up this month to expand the parking lot at the museum. Renovations on the current facility are expected to begin next summer. Construction of the addition is likely to move forward about a year from now. The project could be completed in 2021.

Textile tycoon Robert Moffat Bruce deeded the old Victorian mansion to the town of Greenwich in 1908, stipulating that it be used as “a natural history, historical, and art museum for the use and benefit of the public.”

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