MoCP Awarded $1 Million from The David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation for Impact Fund for Photography

David W. "Buzz" Ruttenberg and Roger F. "Biff" Ruttenberg. Photo: Jonathan Castillo MFA ‘19

CHICAGO (Feb. 1, 2018)The Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) at Columbia College Chicago will receive a $1 million gift from The David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation to endow The David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Impact Fund for Photography. Awarded by brothers David W. “Buzz” Ruttenberg and Roger F. “Biff” Ruttenberg, in honor of their parents, the gift will support the museum in its continued acquisition and exhibition of contemporary photography. This is the largest cash donation to the MoCP in the history of the museum.  

“It is our pleasure to continue to support the MoCP, an institution that was very important to our parents,” said Buzz and Biff. “This gift will allow the MoCP to enhance its activities, and honor and memorialize our parents’ commitment to the museum.”

For nearly 40 years, the Ruttenbergs have been significant benefactors of the MoCP, and their contributions have shaped the founding mission and continued growth of the museum over time. David C. Ruttenberg was a seminal founder of the MoCP as well as a member of the MoCP’s first iteration of the Museum Advisory Board in 1980. His first donations to the museum included works by Robert Frank and Ansel Adams, which set a precedent for the quality of the museum’s then burgeoning collection. Since 1980, 271 works in the MoCP permanent collection have been donated or purchased by the Ruttenbergs.

“The Ruttenberg family’s generosity has been instrumental in shaping the MoCP and our mission as the Midwest’s dedicated institution for thought-provoking contemporary photography. This gift will allow us to continue to exhibit and collect photographs that delve more deeply into the role of the image in the contemporary context, as well as provide a vital platform for launching emerging photographers,” noted Natasha Egan, Executive Director of the MoCP. “We are deeply grateful for this landmark gift that will allow us to continue to uphold our mission as an institution at the forefront of contemporary photography.”

The David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation was established in 1983 to provide support for fine arts organizations in Chicago and the Midwest region, with a focus on photography. The Ruttenbergs’ passion for photography and the MoCP’s continued dedication to the medium assures that The David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Impact Fund for Photography will continue to uphold their legacy.

“This generous gift is both an investment in and endorsement of Columbia College Chicago’s mission and commitment to artistic excellence, and to MoCP, one of Chicago’s cultural treasures,” said Shawn Wax, Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations. “We are very grateful for the continued leadership and generosity of the Ruttenberg family.”


About the MoCP

The Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) at Columbia College Chicago is the only museum in the Midwest with an exclusive commitment to the medium of photography. The MoCP is dedicated to cultivating a deeper understanding of the artistic, cultural and political role of the image in our world today.

Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit:


Marissa Fox
Manager of Marketing & Community Engagement