Morgridge Family Foundation Gives $8 Million Gift
Toward New Science Engagement Center
DENVER-February 1, 2010-The Denver Museum of Nature &
Science has received the largest donation in its 109-year history,
an $8 million gift from the Morgridge Family Foundation for the
construction of a new Science Engagement Center on the south side
of the Museum building.
The 40,000-square-foot, three-story Science Engagement Center
will feature two floors of innovative, high-tech science activity
facilities designed for preschool through 8th grade school
children, as well as their teachers, parents, and other caregivers.
The Center will provide a dynamic, hands-on learning environment
and deliver programs that will have a profound impact on children's
understanding of science. It will use emerging technology to teach
skills and concepts, and to create a highly personalized,
inquiry-driven experience for visitors.
One specific area in the new Science Engagement Center will be a
science-based early childhood learning center. It will offer
activities that teach young children the foundational skills needed
for science learning. This area will replace the Discovery Zone,
the Museum's current activity area for early learners.
In addition to the various science activity spaces, the Science
Engagement Center will contain a large, new exhibition gallery on
the third floor. The new gallery will provide the Museum with more
space for hosting large-scale temporary exhibitions, and it will
give the Museum the flexibility to host more temporary exhibitions
"We want to change the way people think about science education
here at the Museum," said George Sparks, the Museum's president and
CEO. "Our goal is to complement what children learn at school by
offering the types of memorable experiences they can only have at
our great Museum. We want to give these kids the inspiration they
need to become lifelong fans of science and learning, and we are
grateful to the Morgridge Family Foundation for making a
significant contribution to the fulfillment of this vision."
The Science Engagement Center is one part of a larger facility,
which will also include the Rocky Mountain Science Collections
Center, a 60,000-square-foot underground storage area for the 1.4
million objects in the Museum's collections. Concept development
for the entire facility is currently underway. Groundbreaking is
scheduled for late next year.
The facility will be funded through a combination of private
fundraising and City of Denver funds secured through the Better
Denver bonds. In 2007, Denver voters approved $30 million in bond
funding for the project. The ballot issue called for the Museum to
raise $23 million in private donations to match the bonds. With the
$8 million gift from the Morgridge Family Foundation, plus
additional fundraising completed to date, the Museum has raised $15
million toward the $23 million match, or approximately 65 percent
of the matching funds required by the Better Denver program.
"This is an amazing gift. We applaud the Morgridge Family
Foundation for providing quality educational opportunities for the
youth in our community," said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. "The
foundation's generous contribution, together with funds approved by
voters in 2007 for the Better Denver bond program, will go a long
way in boosting an already thriving cultural community in the
The Morgridge Family Foundation
The Morgridge Family Foundation has given generously to
education programs in Colorado, particularly for programs that
create 21stcentury classrooms that rely on technology to teach
today's digital-native children. To date, the Morgridge Family
Foundation has awarded $4.4 million in grants to provide 1,100
teachers with a 21st century classroom.
Carrie Morgridge, the foundation's vice president, joined the
Museum's Board of Trustees this year. Her philanthropic
endeavors are guided by her interest in 21stcentury learning,
science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and
outreach to Colorado's neediest children. Morgridge also sits on
the Board of Trustees at the University of Denver, and she has
served in the past on the Board of Advisors at the Denver School of
Science and Technology, on the Board of Trustees at the Aspen
Valley Community Foundation, and on the Board of Directors at the
Denver Public Schools Foundation.
The Museum's Science Engagement Center project presented an
exciting new opportunity for the Morgridge Family Foundation to
further its mission to make innovative science education accessible
"Partnering with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is
one of the best investments our foundation can make in science and
education," said Morgridge. "We are very concerned that the quality
of science, technology, engineering and math education might be
diluted if standards are not maintained at a very high level.
We need tools, partners, experts, master teachers and creative,
critical thinkers to educate the next generation so we will have a
competitive workforce. The Museum can play an important role in
developing the scientists of tomorrow."
The Museum's Vision for the Future-Museum
The facility containing the Science Engagement Center and the
Rocky Mountain Science Collections Center is the next project in
the Museum's ambitious Museum 20/20 Strategic Plan. The Museum
completed the first two projects in the Museum 20/20 plan in 2009.
Expedition Health, the all new permanent health science
exhibition, debuted to rave reviews in April 2009. The Museum
successfully raised more than $10 million for the project, and
opened the new exhibition on time and on budget. In September 2009,
the Museum completed a total renovation of the Phipps Special
Exhibits Gallery, where the Museum's temporary exhibitions are
staged. This project was completed on time and under budget. Future
Museum 20/20 projects include two new permanent exhibitions about
earth science and anthropology.
About the Denver Museum of Nature &
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain
Region's leading resource for informal science education. A variety
of engaging exhibits, discussions and activities help Museum
visitors celebrate and understand the natural wonders of Colorado,
Earth and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado
Blvd., Denver, CO, 80205. To learn more about the
Museum call 303-370-6000.
About The Morgridge Family Foundation
The Morgridge Family Foundation is a private foundation whose
vision is to become leaders in venture philanthropy so that the
neediest of the needy will have greater opportunities to receive
quality education. The foundation also supports several early
childhood literacy and health initiatives.
About Better Denver
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science Education and
Collections Facility Project is part of the City and County of
Denver's $550 million dollar Better Denver Bond Program passed by
voters in 2007. Better Denver grew from the vision and stewardship
of Mayor John Hickenlooper, civic leaders, staff, and citizens who
challenged the Denver community to imagine a city with enhanced
infrastructure and facilities to add to our quality of life.
Bond funding is enabling the renovation and construction of roads,
libraries, parks, hospitals, public safety facilities, cultural
amenities, and other city facilities. The improvements are
being implemented over five years through 2012, with most scheduled
for completion by 2011. The City is accelerating as many of
the projects as possible in order to stimulate the local economy
and help to preserve and create jobs. More than 280 projects
are included. As of January 2010, 83% of all projects are either
complete (104); in design (79); or under construction (56), which
represents an injection of approximately $126 million into the
local economy. For more information on Better Denver, please visit
www.Denvergov.org and click
on Better Denver.
Many of the Museum's educational programs and exhibits are
made possible in part by generous funding from the citizens of the
seven-county metro area through the Scientific & Cultural