South Florida Museum Receives $2 Million Anonymous Donation

Education

BY BRITTANY MATTIE SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING TUESDAY MAR 26, 2019

Last Friday, an anonymous donor made a $2 million pledge to South Florida Museum’s Connect Campaign, invested in designing “the museum of the future.” Due to Connect Campaign’s matching gift challenge, every $1 donated to the South Florida Museum's campaign will have a $3 impact. “This is an extraordinary opportunity since the impact of each gift will be tripled,” says CEO Brynne Anne Besio. “We hope this challenge match will invite further investment from the community in this amazing new resource.”

To date, SFM has raised more than $15 million through the Connect Campaign to support its Master Campus Plan initiative. Another significant donation includes U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan and his wife Sandy Buchanan’s, made also last week, through the Buchanan Family Foundation of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The matching gift to go along for this donation, as well as the anonymous $2 million, are ultimately tripling the impact in the community and helping the museum complete the current phase of its construction.

Seeing as the museum simply ran out of space to share its massive collection of storied experiences, artifacts, animals and coveted objects, the renovation includes new exhibition spaces, technological upgrades, engineering advances and The North Education Center, an innovative hub for exploration and learning that will include new classrooms.

Additional plans include the Mosaic Backyard Universe (MBU), a new wing of the museum that will consist of an early learning resource designed especially for young children and families. “A focal point will be the 30-foot tall Mighty Oak, which is being custom-made," says Besio. "Children and visitors of all ages will be able to explore in the cardboard rocket, discover fossils in the area below the tree and get a new perspective on the solar system through the telescope in the Mighty Oak.”

Beyond enhancing the size, scope and beauty of its exhibitions and programs, The Master Campus Plan plans to position SFM as a regional leader in the museum field.

"The North Education Center and MBU have really taken shape over the past 16 months, and the positive community response—like this generous pledge of matching funds and the Buchanans' donation—have been an amazing experience to be a part of," says Brian Carter, President of the Museum's Board of Trustees. "We're building the best backyard in the world and setting the stage for millions of new experiences to come.”

Photo of the North Education Center taken yesterday, courtesy of South Florida Museum.

SFM's Connect Campaign runs through June 2020.

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