Rockefeller, 89, said the gift was aimed at enhancing public programs at the MoMA, which has just completed an $858 million expansion. The museum will receive the money after his death, but he will give it $5 million a year as though the money were already being invested.
"It seemed like the right time," Rockefeller, the last surviving child of John D. Rockefeller Jr., told The New York Times for Wednesday editions. "The museum is at a stage now where it has just acquired a new building and has never had a better reputation in the world."
Museum officials said the money will help it to strengthen educational programs and also future exhibitions, which have become more expensive to present in recent years.
The largest ever cash gift to an American museum is believed to be a $300 million bequest to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston by philanthropist Caroline Wiess.