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Crowdfunding Campaign For Lady Liberty

July 2nd, 2018


Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Continues Joseph Pulitzer’s Proud Tradition of Crowdfunding

In the 1880s, publisher Joseph Pulitzer inspired thousands to support the construction of Lady Liberty’s pedestal in exchange for printing donors’ names in his newspaper, in what could be considered America’s first crowdfunding campaign. This Fourth of July, in recognition of this legacy, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation) is launching a similar campaign – For Lady Liberty ( – to help build the new Statue of Liberty Museum. 

Donations will go toward the fundraising initiative being led by the Foundation and campaign chairperson, Diane von Furstenberg. Scheduled to open in May 2019, the museum will celebrate the Statue of Liberty’s story, explore how she has evolved from national monument to global icon, consider the concept of liberty, and be the new home for her original torch. 

“From building Lady Liberty’s pedestal in the 1880s to contributing to the 1986 centennial restoration – the American people have given whatever they could afford to support the Statue,” said Richard Flood, Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer for The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. “This crowdfunding campaign honors that history, ensuring that our fundraising efforts are inclusive, while also expanding the opportunity to a worldwide audience.” 

Updated for the digital age, the month-long campaign will be held on Indiegogo, a leading online crowdfunding platform. 

“I stumbled upon Joseph Pulitzer’s campaign when researching the concept of crowdfunding, and the idea of democratizing capital and what it achieved inspired me,” said Indiegogo co-founder Slava Rubin. “For me, the Statue will forever be an empowering monument to the many incredible entrepreneurs who have come to America and achieved so much, including my parents, and the challenges they overcame to make a better life for our family.” 

A History of Public Support

In the 1880s, The New York World publisher and Hungarian immigrant, Joseph Pulitzer, launched a now-legendary populist campaign to raise the necessary funds from the American people to complete construction of the Statue’s pedestal. More than 120,000 donors responded, some giving just a few pennies, and the funds were secured within months to complete the pedestal and unveil the Statue of Liberty in 1886. 

One hundred years later, when the Foundation was tasked with raising funds for the Statue’s much-needed restoration, a form of crowdfunding was used again. Community groups from across the United States collected money to contribute to the centennial restoration, with donations from school children alone topping $6 million. 

Today, just as Pulitzer publicly recognized those who gave to his campaign, contributors to the Statue of Liberty Museum crowdfunding campaign will be acknowledged by the Foundation in a variety of ways, including via social media. 

Based on contribution levels, supporters can select from a variety of perks that will be unveiled throughout the campaign, beginning with a limited edition medallion fashioned especially for this “For Lady Liberty” crowdfunding campaign. 

Donors Honored in the Museum

Inspired by the American flag, the museum’s Liberty Star Mural features 50 sculpted stars designed by French-American artist Anh Duong. The stars are offset by the original hand-forged iron armature bars that supported the interior of the Statue of Liberty for her first 100 years. Designed by Gustave Eiffel, these unique pieces were preserved from the Statue’s 1986 centennial restoration. 

Those giving the symbolic donation of $18.86 or more will be collectively recognized with one of the stars, the Founders Star, as well as have their name permanently recorded in the Founders Registry, a digital donor list on display in the museum and on the museum’s website. 

About the Museum

The new 26,000-square-foot museum was designed by architecture firm FXCollaborative with exhibitions created by experience design firm ESI Design. The structure is being built by Phelps Construction Group. Access to the museum will be free with purchase of a ferry ticket to visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island.

Liberty Island and the Statue will remain open to visitors throughout construction of the new museum. For more information about the Statue of Liberty Museum or visiting Liberty Island, go to, follow the Foundation on social media at, Twitter @StatueEllisFdn, Instagram @StatueEllisFdn, and join the conversation by using #ForLadyLiberty.

About The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restoration and preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has collaborated with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior in what has become the most successful public-private partnership in U.S. history, having raised nearly $1 billion. In addition to restoring the monuments, the Foundation created museums on both islands, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor®, the American Family Immigration History Center® and The Peopling of America Center®, which in 2015 transformed the museum on Ellis Island into the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. The Foundation is now overseeing the fundraising and construction of the new Statue of Liberty Museum scheduled to open in 2019. The organization’s endowment has funded over 200 projects that support these national treasures.

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