The Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis, will for the first time have a fund dedicated to purchasing and acquiring new art. Janet and Clint Reilly, a notable San Francisco couple with deep civic, philanthropic and business ties to the Bay Area, have pledged a $1 million family gift to establish the Janet and Clint Reilly Acquisition Fund at UC Davis.
The gift will support the Manetti Shrem Museum’s Fine Arts Collection, which focuses on the representation of UC Davis’ legacy and aims to become the primary repository of works by the university’s first-generation art faculty such as Wayne Thiebaud and Robert Arneson. The museum plans to strengthen the collection and fill in gaps through strategic acquisitions.
“This generous gift from Janet and Clint gives us the ability to expand our Fine Arts Collection and ensure that current and future generations can engage with the powerful legacy of the college’s first-generation faculty artists,” said museum Founding Director Rachel Teagle.
The Reillys are active members of the San Francisco community as philanthropists, businesspeople and volunteers. They possess a significant Northern California art collection focused on postwar Bay Area abstract expressionists and figurative painters, and understand the importance of providing access for the current and future generations.
With 30 percent of its space dedicated to education across art disciplines, the Manetti Shrem Museum is uniquely positioned to introduce first-generation students — who comprise 42 percent of UC Davis’ undergraduates — to museums and their relevance.
“I’m regularly inspired by the leadership and vision of Founding Director Rachel Teagle,” said Clint Reilly. “This gift aligns perfectly with our passion for art, as well as providing access for those underserved who may not enjoy the opportunity otherwise.”
“UC Davis has long been an epicenter of innovation, and the Manetti Shrem Museum is uniquely positioned to preserve and interpret that legacy of the first-generation faculty artists who were such a significant influence on students, as well as the art world,” added Janet Reilly.
Clint Reilly explained that the couple’s confidence in the leadership at the museum and at UC Davis was also a factor in their decision to give. He has been a founding Advisory Board member of the Manetti Shrem Museum since 2016.
In 2007, they founded the Clint Reilly Scholarship Program to help low-income students achieve a high-quality, college preparatory high school education. Now called Bay Scholars, the program provides a $14,000, four-year scholarship to 500 students attending 14 Catholic college preparatory high schools throughout the Bay Area.
After beginning his career as a pioneer in the field of modern political consulting and campaign management, helping to launch the careers of notable public servants such as Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein and Robert Matsui, Clint Reilly went on to create the Clint Reilly Organization, a diversified family of commercial real estate, hospitality and media companies headquartered at the landmark Merchants Exchange in downtown San Francisco. In addition to his myriad philanthropic endeavors, he served for several years as the chairman of the board of Catholic Charities/CYO, which provides services for more than 40,000 people across three Bay Area counties.
Janet Reilly was appointed to serve on the University of California Board of Regents by Gov. Gavin Newsom in August 2019. She also is an advisory board member of the Walt Disney Family Museum and the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco, and a board member of the Dignity Health Foundation and the local governing board of the Seton Medical Center.
She is the co-founder and president of Clinic by the Bay, a nonprofit health clinic for the working uninsured in San Francisco. She was appointed to the board of the Presidio Trust by President Barack Obama in 2015. A UCLA alumna, she also holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
A gift toward growth
This gift marks the first seven-figure gift to the Manetti Shrem Museum since its opening on Nov. 13, 2016, and establishes the first major acquisition fund to support the museum’s growing Fine Arts Collection. Fifty percent of the gift will be for current use, while the other half will be classified as an endowment in order to create a future reservoir.
“We are extremely grateful to our donors for continuing to invest in UC Davis,” said Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations and president of the UC Davis Foundation. “The arts are a crucial component to a comprehensive education — and as a top-ranked university, we are privileged to be home to the Manetti Shrem Museum.”
Teagle mentioned the museum’s gratitude for the Reillys’ gift and for their continued engagement and partnership.
“Clint Reilly has been an incredible champion of the museum as a member of its advisory board,” she said. “He and Janet understand what a huge impact an acquisition fund has for a young museum in helping us bring world-class art exhibitions and educational opportunities to a wide range of students, and we are grateful for their support of our mission.”