The price tag? $10 million.
The naming rights are part of Max Planck Florida’s campaign to raise $50 million in private donations over the next five years. The sum will help pay for the German institute’s operations after it spends the $190 million it received from state and county taxpayers to open a U.S. outpost here.
As part of its fundraising campaign, the nonprofit Max Planck Florida will sell a deep-pocketed donor the right to name the institute’s new 100,000-square-foot building, which is set to open in June.
For smaller amounts, donors can put their names on other parts of the facility, such as the auditorium and laboratory wings. Prices are $25,000 for individual offices, $50,000 to $500,000 for conference rooms, $1 million for an imaging suite and $5 million for the atrium.
Raising $50 million won’t be easy, acknowledged Claudia Hillinger, president of the Max Planck Florida Foundation.
“We’re all well aware that this is a very ambitious and challenging goal,” Hillinger said.
Challenging, perhaps, but not unattainable, given South Florida’s wealth of wealthy philanthropists.
In January, former Home Depot CEO Bernie Marcus gave $25 million to Boca Raton Regional Hospital to set up the Marcus Neuroscience Institute. And in 2010, Christine Lynn donated $10 million to the Boca Raton hospital for a women’s health center.
In 2005, Martin Health System got a $5 million gift from the Frances Langford Foundation. That donation was part of $18.5 million raised by the Stuart hospital for an open-heart surgery center.
A resurgent stock market has left wealthy donors in a more charitable mood, said Tony Martignetti, a fundraising consultant in New York.
“The climate for fundraising has improved from where it was two or three years ago,” Martignetti said. “It’s just a matter of getting in front of the right people.”
Scripps Florida, Max Planck Florida’s neighbor in Jupiter, also has been raising money. While it won’t divulge the total amount it has received from donors, three – Phil Frost, Marjorie Fink and Elizabeth Fago – have given more than $2 million apiece.
Like Max Planck Florida, Scripps Florida is offering naming rights to its three buildings for $10 million each, said Alex Bruner, head of Scripps Florida’s philanthropy efforts. There have been no takers so far.
Based in Munich and boasting a staff of Nobel Prize winners, the Max Planck Society is a household name in scientific circles, but it’s not as well-known among outsiders, Hillinger said.
“One of the challenges we really have is being a new player in the community,” Hillinger said. “We have to raise awareness. “
Max Planck already has raised more than $3 million toward its $50 million goal, including a $1 million donation in 2010 from paving contractor George Elmore, who’s also chairman of the Max Planck Florida Foundation.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Jess Santamaria donated $100,000.
While many charities host black-tie galas in Palm Beach to raise money, Hillinger said Max Planck Florida won’t use that strategy.
“We’re planning smaller events where you really have a chance to talk to the individuals,” she said.
To raise cash, Hillinger has hired fundraisers from Nova Southeastern University and the American Red Cross.
Max Planck’s work in Jupiter focuses on unlocking the mysteries of the brain and finding treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.