NEW YORK -- Bill Blass is donating $10 million to the New York Public Library.
"You could consider it a miracle that I'm in the position to do this," the designer said Wednesday, when it was announced.
The donation is one of the largest ever received by the library. It will be distributed in sums of $2 million over each of the next five years.
In 1985, the library's honorary chairman, Brooke Astor, donated $10 million, and businessman Lewis B. Cullman and his wife, Dorothy, have donated $12.5 million since 1989.
"It was Brooke Astor who inspired me, as she does all of us," Blass said. "The New York Public Library and books are a passion for me, and I feel so strongly about books changing people's lives," he continued. Blass has been a trustee of the library since 1986. He noted that in the past several years, he has already contributed $800,000 to the institution.
Of his gift, $5 million is slated for the Public Catalog Room in the Central Research Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The room will be known as the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, with a marble plaque at the entrance acknowledging the gift.
The other $5 million is designated for the library's unrestricted endowment.
Blass operates his own company, Bill Blass Ltd., producing his signature ready-to-wear line, and has been a pioneer in designer licensing, building a $350-million-a-year wholesale empire of products.
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