The development and notoriety of the FSU/John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art are largely attributed to the generous support of its devoted constituents. Two such donors, Robert "Bob" Blalock, a Bradenton attorney and former trustee of the Museum, and his wife, Marlene (an FSU attendee), have long been passionate about the importance of the Museum and played a key role in making Ringling a part of Florida State University. Since the Florida Legislature transferred Ringling to Florida State University in 2000, the Museum has become a public resource for the appreciation, education and history of art. The Museum further enhanced the University's already distinguished art program and helped to increase the Museum's capacity for educational outreach initiatives.
The success story of the relationship between the two organizations begins with the enthusiasm of dedicated donors and advocates, such as Bob and Marlene. "A museum, if successful, must be above all an educational institution," Bob says. Prior to its affiliation with Florida State, the Ringling Museum received little private support, primarily because it was a state institution and individuals felt that any support should come from the state. Bob helped initiate the merger and played a key role in linking the two organizations in 2000.
Bob and Marlene further demonstrated their support of Ringling by establishing a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) with the FSU Foundation. The principal in their trust continues to grow because they add to their CRUT on a regular basis, and the proceeds from the trust will directly benefit the FSU/John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. In addition, Bob uses his successful law practice to educate clients about the benefits of including charitable organizations like Ringling and FSU in their deferred gifts and estate plans.
The FSU Foundation is extremely grateful to have donors such as Bob and Marlene Blalock and appreciates Bob's efforts to educate others about the benefits of establishing deferred gifts for Florida State University. The Blalocks' generous support— as well as the support of donors like them—ensures a successful future for the FSU/John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
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