Vizcaya needs money to operate, launches $1M fundraising campaign

Nonprofit estimates it will have lost $3M by the end of September

Miami /
Aug.August 14, 2020 10:30 AM
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Joel Hoffman (Credit: Robin Hill)

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Joel Hoffman (Credit: Robin Hill)

After months without visitors, the historic Vizcaya Museum and Gardens launched a $1 million coronavirus relief fundraising campaign to compensate for lost revenue and stay open.

In a letter sent to Vizcaya supporters, Joel Hoffman, CEO and executive director, said this is “Vizcaya’s hour of need” and that support is “critical to keep Vizcaya open, protected and preserved.”

The waterfront Coconut Grove museum, at 3251 South Miami Avenue, is the former villa and estate of the late businessman James Deering. Vizcaya estimates it will have lost about $3 million by its fiscal year end, at the end of September, Hoffman said.

Prior to the pandemic, nearly 370,000 visited Vizcaya each year. In addition, it was a venue for weddings, other events and photoshoots. The 10-plus-acre bayfront property closed for two months and reopened May 10, but still can’t host events or hold photoshoots. Hoffman said about 25 percent of visitors have returned.

The property is south of the Rickenbacker Causeway connecting Miami to Key Biscayne, and northeast of downtown Coconut Grove, where a number of new residential projects are underway.

The funds would be used to continue to preserve and protect Vizcaya, providing bridge funds during the pandemic.

“Cultural organizations are encouraged to have cash reserves. During this crisis, like many other cultural organizations, we have begun to spend through those,” he said. “It’s very worrying to deplete cash reserves, especially when you’re a massive historic property in a hurricane-prone environment.”

Miami-Dade County owns the property, buildings, assets and collections, and the non-profit has operated the museum and gardens since 2017. The county provides Vizcaye with $2.5 million a year.

Vizcaya also received a $1.1 million Paycheck Protection Program loan and a $190,000 CARES Act grant.

Write to Katherine Kallergis at [email protected]


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