Stony Brook museum gifted millions

Stony Brook museum gifted millions

The Long Island Museum. Photo by Phil Corso

Two landmark Three Village institutions have received a landmark gift.

The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook and the Setauket Presbyterian Church were named beneficiaries of a $100 million charitable trust through the Kingsley Gillespie Charitable Trust, giving both groups a financial boost from a family that loved its community. The gift carried on the philanthropic contributions that both the Kingsley and Kenyon Gillespie families have made, keeping the arts, community service and faith strong.

The charitable trust came as a result of Kenyon Gillespie’s death in March 2015, which built upon the success of his father Kingsley Gillespie and mother Doris Kenyon, who both died in the 1980s. Every year, the beneficiaries will receive slices of the income earned by the $100 million trust, bringing in millions of dollars in gift money.

Neil Watson, executive director of the Long Island Museum, said the gift came at an exciting time as it approaches 80 years since the museum’s inception.

“This is a very significant gift for us — one of the biggest in our history,” he said. “It allows us to chart our own future.”

Watson said the charitable gift would allow the Long Island Museum to better maintain its 14 buildings, balance its $2.4 million budget and provide better programming for the North Shore community. Looking ahead, he said the museum would be working on launching new programs to attract new visitors, reopening the facility’s gift shop at its headquarters and investing in capital improvements to its carriage museum, which houses a 125-person meeting room dedicated to the Gillespie name.

“The board of trustees and the museum’s staff are overwhelmed by the Gillespies’ generosity,” Watson said in a statement. “This tremendous gift strengthens the LIM’s existing endowments and solidifies the museum’s financial foundation. We are forever indebted to the Gillespie family for their foresight and their belief in the important of the LIM and its place as a cultural leader in our community.”

The Setauket Presbyterian Church, founded in 1660, will also benefit considerably through the charitable trust. The institution, located on the village green at Caroline Avenue in Setauket, has been a longtime home for more than 500 people of faith.

Doris Kenyon was born in 1900 in Brooklyn, but spent summers as a child in Old Field before moving there in the 1930. She had a lifelong affection for the Three Village community, the Long Island Museum said in a press release. She was married to Kingsley Gillespie, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the two built their family in the Three Village area before retiring to Florida.

Other beneficiaries of the charitable trust include MIT and various Stamford, Conn., institutions.