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UMFA announces major endowment from Tozer family

The $400,000 endowment will bolster UMFA operations for generations to come.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) at the University of Utah has received a $400,000 gift to endow special exhibitions from the Tozer family, longtime supporters of the UMFA with deep roots in Utah. The Elizabeth Farran Tozer and W. James Tozer, Jr. Endowment for the Utah Museum of Fine Arts will provide funding in perpetuity to support special exhibitions consistent with the mission, vision and core values of the UMFA. In recognition of the Tozers’ generous commitment, the UMFA has named the museum’s lobby the “Elizabeth Farran Tozer and W. James Tozer, Jr. Lobby” (the Tozer Lobby).

A gift of this nature supports not only the museum but the entire community of Utah. As the flagship fine arts museum for the university, as well as the state, the UMFA is the premier location for hosting traveling exhibitions from around the nation and for fueling learning, reflection and inspiration through art for students, residents and visitors alike. It is the only institution in Utah that acquires, interprets and exhibits a comprehensive fine art collection from ancient to global contemporary objects.

“Jim and I are so grateful for the UMFA—a true community treasure and a dynamic cultural force in our state,” said Elizabeth (Zibby) Tozer. “We believe in the mission and vision of the UMFA and are honored to be able to contribute to the stability of its future. We look forward to the wonderful special exhibitions and programs to come.”

Jim and Zibby Tozer, who live in Park City, have been deeply engaged with the UMFA for decades. Jim Tozer, a venture capitalist and real estate investor who grew up in Salt Lake City, is managing director of the Vectra Management Group, whose portfolio includes several commercial properties in Utah. Throughout a long and fruitful business career in Manhattan, he has always retained an affinity for his home state and its cultural institutions.

Zibby Tozer, a UMFA Board member since 2010, is an enthusiastic lover of visual arts and an artist and designer herself. A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, she graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in fine arts and is a nationally recognized designer of senior citizen housing for the poor elderly. She is also an experienced floral designer who twice chaired the New York Flower Show and was the national spokesperson for the National Floral Marketing Association. In 1981, she published “The Art of Flower Arranging.” The Tozers are both art lovers who have acquired a notable private collection of European and American fine and decorative art. They demonstrate their love of art through board service and support to multiple nonprofit arts organizations in Utah and New York.

“The Tozers’ incredibly generous gift exemplifies their love for this organization and helps secure the museum’s ability to create meaningful experiences for our community through life-enriching art,” said Gretchen Dietrich, UMFA executive director. “We are so very grateful for their investment in our future and are excited to see how this gift will allow us to connect more deeply with our community at the campus, city, state and national level.”

The Tozers’ gift comes at an incredibly meaningful time, as the museum is working to become a more strategic, deliberate and sustainable institution—one of the UMFA’s six strategic plan goals. For years to come, the endowment earnings from this gift will support all aspects of special exhibitions—from initial research and planning to final implementation and community engagement.

Together, the Tozers and the UMFA have created sustainability for the future of traveling exhibitions and all related research and programming. This stability will also help to ensure that Utah students, residents and visitors will have an emotional, intellectual and joyful experience at the UMFA, now and into the future.