The task of raising half a billion dollars to build a World Trade Center memorial, a museum building and a performing arts center will fall to a foundation made up of captains of finance and real estate, cultural leaders, media heavyweights and seven relatives of those killed on 9/11.
After months of searching and one awkward false start last spring when two prospective co-chairmen, Jerry I. Speyer and Sanford I. Weill, backed away from the job, Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg were able yesterday to name 31 members of the board of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.
John C. Whitehead, the chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, will head the foundation until the board members have a chance to meet next month and select a chairman. Until yesterday afternoon, even the designated members did not know whom all their colleagues would be.
Heading the list of boldface names, in one arena or another, are Robert DeNiro, who has been a presence in TriBeCa for many years; Barbara Walters of ABC; David Rockefeller, who was deeply involved in the original development of the World Trade Center; and Michael D. Eisner, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company.
The roster seems to reflect some geopolitical ticket-splitting, with the chairmen of giant downtown companies like American Express, American International Group and the Bank of New York balanced by Robert Wood Johnson IV, the owner of the New York Jets, who hopes to build a football stadium on the far West Side.
"You probably won't find a board of any higher caliber anywhere in the city," said Mayor Bloomberg, who knows a thing or two about philanthropy. "And that's really exactly what is called for because there isn't a more noble task before us."
The mission of the nonprofit foundation is to oversee and coordinate fund-raising and construction of the memorial and the cultural buildings at the trade center site. It will also own and operate the buildings.
Though the foundation will not formally begin raising money until next year, Mr. Bloomberg all but made the second big pledge as he stood at the lectern in the lobby of the American Express headquarters in the World Financial Center at Battery Park City.
"As the mayor of New York and also as a citizen of New York," he said, "I plan to do my part to ensure these projects reach their full potential."
The first big pledge may be said to have come last week, when Governor Pataki declared in a speech that the highest priority for the remaining $816 million in unallocated federal grants controlled by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation should be "to guarantee that we have the funds necessary to build the memorial." Conceivably, then, the foundation may start its $500 million campaign with several hundred million dollars already available.
Mr. Pataki had already said that four former presidents - Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald R. Ford - would be honorary members. One of the working members will be Brian Mulroney, a former prime minister of Canada, whose presence symbolizes the international importance of the memorial, said Kevin M. Rampe, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and a foundation board member.
Mr. Speyer, the chairman and chief executive of Tishman Speyer Properties, whose portfolio includes Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building, agreed to serve on the board that he would not lead. "I wanted to be helpful but, frankly, it was a matter of time," he said yesterday.
Two jurors in the memorial design competition, Paula Grant Berry and Vartan Gregorian, will have the chance to solicit money for the project whose fate they helped decide. No downtown resident is on the board now, but one will be named in coming weeks as the board reaches full strength, Mr. Rampe said.
Asked about the appropriateness of including Mr. Johnson of the Jets at a time when the team has so much business with the government, Mr. Rampe said he was a leading philanthropist. "Quite frankly," Mr. Rampe said, "it would have an omission not to have him on the board."
The members announced yesterday are:
Paula Grant Berry. Member of the memorial jury, vice chairwoman of the International Freedom Center. Wife of David S. Berry, who died in the south tower.
Sir John Bond. Chairman of HSBC Holdings.
Debra A. Burlingame. Founder of 9/11 Families for America. Sister of Charles Burlingame, captain of American Airlines Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon.
Russell L. Carson. Co-founding partner of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a private investment firm.
Kenneth I. Chenault. Chairman and chief executive of American Express.
Michael D. Eisner. Chief executive of the Walt Disney Company.
Maurice R. Greenberg. Chairman and chief executive of the American International Group.
Vartan Gregorian. President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Agnes Gund. President emerita of the Museum of Modern Art.
William B. Harrison Jr. Chairman and chief executive of J. P. Morgan Chase & Company.
Lee Ielpi. Director. Vice president of the September 11th Families Association, which is organizing the Tribute Visitors Center at ground zero. Father of Jonathan Lee Ielpi, a firefighter who died at the trade center.
Monica Iken. Founder of September's Mission, a foundation that supports the development of a memorial park at ground zero, and the wife of Michael Iken, who died in the south tower.
Robert Wood Johnson IV. Owner of the New York Jets.
Thomas S. Johnson. Retired chairman and chief executive of GreenPoint Financial Corporation. Father of Scott Johnson, who died in the south tower.
Anthoula Katsimatides. Assistant vice president for family relations at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Sister of John Katsimatides, who died in the north tower.
Henry R. Kravis. Founding partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, an investment firm.
Ira M. Millstein. Senior partner at the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
Brian Mulroney. Former prime minister of Canada.
Richard D. Parsons. Chairman and chief executive of Time Warner.
Peter G. Peterson. Chairman and co-founder of the Blackstone Group, an investment firm.
Kevin M. Rampe. President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
Thomas A. Renyi. Chairman and chief executive of the Bank of New York Company.
Tom Rogér. One of the founders of Families of September 11. Father of Jean Rogér, flight attendant on the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the north tower.
E. John Rosenwald Jr. Vice chairman of Bear, Stearns & Company.
Jerry I. Speyer. Chairman and chief executive of Tishman Speyer Properties.
Anne M. Tatlock. Chairman and chief executive of Fiduciary Trust.
Barbara Walters. ABC News correspondent.
John C. Whitehead. Chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
John E. Zuccotti. Co-chairman of Brookfield Properties Corporation, which owns the World Financial Center.