Agnes Gund

Heir to the Gund family fortune, "Aggie" is a major patron of the Museum of Modern Art, currently serving as its "President Emerita."

The second of six children born to George Gund II, who presided over the once-giant Cleveland Trust Company, Gund says she hated being dragged through van Gogh exhibits as a child. Thankfully for the many arts organizations that have benefited from her generosity over the years, the early aversion didn't last. In 1976, Gund joined MoMA's board; a year later, she founded Studios in Schools to promote art education after budget cuts during the city's financial crisis resulted in the elimination of art classes in New York City public schools. In the early '80s, Gund's passion for art led her back to school and she earned a master's in art history from Harvard. In 1991 she succeeded Donald Marron as president of the MoMA, an organization she'd tirelessly supported for years.

As MoMA president from 1991 to 2002, Gund played a key role in recruiting Glenn Lowry as director, negotiating the museum's merger with P.S.1 in 1999, and shepherding its $858 million expansion. Her work raising hundreds of millions of dollars permitted the museum to make a suite of major acquisitions during the 1990s (she was also rather generous herself, gifting more than 150 pieces from her own collection). Gund's tireless service and generosity was acknowledged when the garden lobby at the new MoMA was named in her honor. But while she remains revered by members of New York's arts establishment, she's had her less distinguished moments, such as the generally negative critical reaction to the new MoMA building. But it's hard to quibble with her generosity to the art community. Therefore, it's fitting that in 2011, President Obama nominated her as a trustee on the National Council of the Arts. [Image via Getty]