Well we all know about the Walton family dynasty. The one devoted to extracting the maximum it can from its retail empire and using very little of it for charity. What the Waltons do give is either for egotistical projects like a pet museum or for politically motivated astro-turf groups like the one that supports school vouchers. Now meet an even older retail dynasty, the Daytons. This is the family which founded the Dayton-Hudson retail empire which renamed itself Target awhile back. From a NY Times supplement on museums published today:
Ask a group of museum directors to describe the ideal board member, and someone is bound to mention Bruce B. Dayton. Now 90, Mr. Dayton has served on the board of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts since 1942, and he has long been renowned as a trustee’s trustee. During his time on the board, Mr. Dayton has given the museum $72 million in capital, endowment and acquisitions funds, as well as more than 2,000 works of art... No doubt it also helps if the trustee has finely honed strategic instincts. In 1950, Mr. Dayton and his four brothers set out to expand Dayton’s, founded by their grandfather in 1902, into a national retail empire. In 1956, they opened Southdale, the country’s first indoor shopping mall, and in 1962 came the opening of their first discount chain, Target. In 1966, they created B. Dalton Bookseller, which became the first chain bookstore in the country to use computers to track its inventory. By 1995, many expansions later, the Dayton Hudson Corporation had become the fourth-largest retailer in the United States, according to Fortune. ... The Dayton brothers have another dynastic business: philanthropy. In 1946, they decided to tithe 5 percent of their pretax profits, the maximum allowable by law, to charity; this practice was written into the company’s bylaws. [my emphasis]Quite a contrast!