Amidst cheers, confetti and overall hoopla, the Museum of Nature & Science announced today that it has not only surpassed its $185 million goal to build the new Perot Museum of Nature & Science but achieved the milestone more than a year before the doors open to the Victory Park facility. The announcement came just minutes after Museum leaders revealed that The Moody Foundation had contributed $6 million to name the Children’s Museum and the education Forum at the new Perot Museum of Nature & Science.
“Despite the challenges of raising money during an extremely tough economic environment, the importance of science education and the desire to invest in our future prevailed. The North Texas community has warmly embraced our mission, and, consequently, we have exceeded the $185 million goal to build the Perot Museum of Nature & Science,” said Forrest Hoglund, chair of the Perot Museum of Nature & Science Expansion Campaign.
The Moody Foundation gift – with $5 million earmarked for the Children’s Museum and $1 million for the Forum – will result in the children’s center being named the Moody Family Children’s Museum and the multi-purpose gathering spot in the education wing being designated the Robert and Ann Moody Forum. The Moody Family Children’s Museum will accommodate young learners – from babies to age 5 – as they playfully discover the world through dynamic interactions with objects and phenomena, while developing literacy, science and math skills. With the theme of River in the City, the Moody Family Children’s Museum will feature child-sized versions of iconic Dallas attractions, such as the Great Trinity Forest, Farmers Market, a Dallas skyline climber, Trinity River waterplay area and more.
The Robert and Ann Moody Forum is expected to be one of the busiest areas in the entire building as kids gather for Museum-sponsored sleepovers, groups and classes on field trips congregate for lunch, and students from across North Texas find a place to share their museum experiences. The Forum has been purposely designed to be a place where children connect, learn from each other and even strike up new friendships.
“As not only a Museum team member but also a mother of two preschoolers, I am personally so appreciative of The Moody Foundation’s generosity. This $6 million gift will have an enormous impact on future generations because studies show that early childhood is an optimal time for learning,” said Nicole G. Small, CEO of the Museum of Nature & Science. “If we can get kids excited about science and math in the early years, we believe that enthusiasm will continue and will ultimately lead to more children pursuing careers in the sciences.”
Sharing that sentiment was Dallas resident Francie Moody-Dahlberg, daughter of Robert and Ann Moody and granddaughter of founder William Moody. Ms. Moody-Dahlberg also serves as executive director and trustee of The Moody Foundation.
“The museum grant is a really good fit for us right now, and we are eager to work with everyone. There are so many people in Texas who will benefit from the Perot Museum and its wonderful programs,” said Ms. Moody-Dahlberg. “The children’s museum, especially, is an area that is near and dear to my heart.
Education is incredibly important, and helping our little ones get ready for educational challenges and opportunities in an enjoyable, exciting atmosphere is one of the most significant things we do. I believe the Children’s Museum will become one of the cornerstones of early childhood education in Dallas and far beyond.”
Today’s momentous occasion comes almost two years to the date after groundbreaking ceremonies were held (on November 18, 2009). Young children from the Museum of Nature & Science’s Science School did their part by popping out of a specially designed gift box on cue when the Children’s Museum and Forum announcement was made. The newly formed jazz ensemble from Dallas ISD’s Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy added musical pizzazz to the festivities. Emerging “balloon creatures” caught guests by surprise, cannons spewed biodegradable confetti, glasses of champagne were passed, and Forrest Hoglund led the crowd in a celebratory toast.
“This is a big accomplishment, and so many deserve credit – from our donors for their belief in our vision, to the always energetic leadership of Forrest Hoglund, to the tireless work of our board, building committee and staff,” said Small. “We thank you all!”
Major donors to the Expansion Campaign include the Perot children, who gave $50 million in honor of their parents Margot and Ross Perot. The Rees-Jones Foundation donated $25 million; and Hunt Petroleum Corporation, The Hoglund Foundation and Family, and T. Boone Pickens each gave $10 million. Making $5 million gifts were The Honorable and Mrs. William P. Clements, Jr.; and Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Rose III. Texas Instruments Foundation contributed $4.4 million, and David and Emily Corrigan, and Catherine Corrigan donated $2.5 million. There were over a dozen $1 million gifts, and hundreds of gifts ranging from a few dollars and up.
Hoglund also saluted organizations that made matching grants totaling $14 million for “helping put us over the top.” Atmos Energy and Highland Capital Management each donated $1 million. There also was one anonymous gift of $10 million and two anonymous gifts of $1 million each.
Campaign to Build the Perot continues …
While celebrating the achievement, Hoglund also noted that “there is still work to be done.”
“The money we’ve raised to date will be used to construct the museum, install the galleries, and open the doors. But to be a world-class museum, we can’t stop now. To build upon this positive momentum, we will continue our push for excellence to build the Perot in different ways by raising money to bring blockbuster traveling exhibitions, to support innovation and technology, to strengthen our endowment, and to beef up scholarship programs to make the Museum accessible for underserved children and families,” added Hoglund.
Small added that part of the excitement of reaching the goal a year early is that it allows the museum to continue fundraising to support its long-term success. The museum has a record of positive financial results, which have translated into its ability to continually deliver on its mission.
To donate to the Perot Museum Expansion Campaign or to learn more, go to natureandscience.org.