Byline: Wendy Hessen

NEW YORK — Michael Kowalski, Tiffany & Co. president and chief executive officer, is fond of saying that Tiffany’s has a gift for every occasion, and last Wednesday he bestowed several major examples of the company’s largesse.
Kowalski presented the company’s first series of grants — totaling $1,115,000 — under the auspices of the newly formed Tiffany & Co. Foundation.
Though Tiffany has a history of supporting, through the Tiffany & Co. Corporate Giving Program, some 750 non-profit organizations, Kowalski said it was time to “move beyond our traditional forms of community support.”
“This Foundation has been in the making since we became an independent entity in 1987,” he said.
The Foundation focuses on education and preservation of the arts and environmental conservation. In recognition of Elsa Peretti’s 25th anniversary with the store last year, Tiffany made its single largest donation ever — $750,000 — to the Fashion Institute of Technology to establish the Elsa Peretti Professorship in Jewelry Design, the first endowed professorship in the history of FIT. The endowment was also established in memory of Samuel Bizer, the first chairman of FIT’s department of jewelry design, whom Peretti assisted in developing the program’s curriculum.
The Fresh Air Fund was the beneficiary of the second-largest donation of $250,000. The funds are earmarked for a new arts and crafts center at the camp, which will be named after Peretti. The Foundation also made four other grants totaling $115,000 in support of specific activities:
The Rhode Island School of Design received $20,000 to sponsor a visiting artists lecture series to be held in both Providence and New York throughout the year.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was granted $50,000 to fund two, one-year curatorial internships in American and Modern decorative arts.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum received $20,000 for a series of design education programs that will introduce New York high school students to career possibilities in various arts fields.
The Wildlife Conservation Society was given $25,000 for its Marine Conservation program to commence a multinational study on the effects of natural temperature variation on reef coral symbiosis.
The Foundation will meet semi-annually to review proposals, with grants being awarded once a year.

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