Widespread Community Giving Helps Museum Meet Challenge
Discovery Place Inc. announces that it has hit a major benchmark for the comprehensive fundraising campaign for Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham by reaching $9.6 million to meet a challenge grant set forth by the Leon Levine Foundation.
Last year, the foundation pledged a $2 million gift in support of the new museum if the campaign reached this fundraising benchmark by Dec. 31.
The foundation's gift will be used to support the renovation of the facility and its exhibition development. Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham will be the only museum of its kind in the region and will encourage the development of essential childhood skills through imaginative, creative play and learning activities for young children and their caregivers.
"I'm delighted that such a large number of donors have given so generously to bring Discovery Place KIDS to Rockingham," says Leon Levine. "Thousands of children will benefit. This is certainly an exciting time for Rockingham and all the region."
The campaign milestone achievement keeps the museum development on schedule and enables the renovation of the former McKenzie Furniture building as the home for the museum to commence early this year.
A broad range of individuals, professionals and businesses, large and small, from throughout the Sandhills joined in support of the challenge grant. The city of Rockingham purchased the McKenzie Furniture building in July and will serve as facility partner.
"We are grateful to the Leon Levine Foundation for issuing the funding challenge that served as the catalyst for many individuals and businesses to dig deep in their hearts and their pockets in support of this effort," says Russell Bennett, Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham campaign co-chair. "We might not have achieved this milestone without their challenge."
Co-chair Neal Cadieu agreed, saying, "Receiving this gift is a great morale booster. It gives new confidence to the belief that Richmond County will indeed celebrate the conclusion of this fabulous effort."
Fundraising efforts will continue even as construction on the new museum begins in order to fulfill the comprehensive campaign objectives of the project.
The overall campaign goal includes funds to support admission subsidies for the underserved, outreach efforts through the ScienceReach program, long-term support for exhibition upgrades and maintenance, along with building renovation and exhibition design and fabrication. Architectural design and schematic exhibition design are under way.
"Our efforts to bring Discovery Place KIDS to Richmond County have been greatly boosted by the extraordinary leadership of the Leon Levine Foundation" says John Mackay, president and CEO of Discovery Place, Inc. "Many businesses, individuals and local governments in the region are responding to the needs of the region's children with significant contributions, and their efforts are now amplified by the foundation's contribution. We are very thankful for the community's generosity in responding to this challenge."
Founded by Rockingham native Leon Levine and his wife, Sandra Levine, the Leon Levine Foundation is dedicated to improving human lives in the Charlotte community and surrounding region with a focus on education as well as other issues.
Born in Wadesboro and raised in Rockingham, Leon Levine began his career at his family's department store, The Hub, located at what is now 115 South Lee St. in Rockingham.
The Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham project was launched by the commitment of $6.6 million in funds from the Cole Foundation and the Richmond Community Foundation. Their visionary leadership gifts, which were facilitated by The Foundation For The Carolinas, are intended for the long-term sustainability of the museum.
An opening date for the museum has not been announced, but it is expected to be as soon as early 2013.
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