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William H. Gates Foundation Grant Largest Gift in Oregon

$600,000 given toward building of world-class Children's Museum with interactive exhibits and hands-on activities for kids

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Rhonda Barton
Phone: 503.823.2820

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Children's Museum President Verne Stanford announced today that the campaign for building a world-class museum for children ages one through 13 in Portland's Washington Park has received a major gift from Bill and Melinda Gates. The Microsoft founder and his wife have pledged $600,000 to the Children's Museum, the largest gift yet by the Seattle-based William H. Gates Foundation for a project in Oregon. The grant brings the campaign total to $6,153,434—achieving almost two-thirds of the $9.9 million goal.

"Children love to learn through exploration and play, and what better place to stimulate the intellectual and creative potential of children then a museum built especially for kids. We are pleased to be able to support this very worthwhile project," said Bill Gates Sr., director of the William H. Gates Foundation.

The money will go toward converting the former Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) building in Washington Park into an exciting and innovative facility with a wide range of arts programs—literary, music, visual and performing arts-as well as interactive exhibits. "The gift from the Gates Foundation will give a phenomenal boost to our campaign at a key time," said Stanford. "Their generous grant is a recognition of the importance of developing creativity in all our children, and regarding it as a community resource." He added that the highly visible location and size of the new museum will make it a regional attraction that will benefit all of the Northwest.

The facility, set to open in late 2000/early 2001, is a joint effort of the Friends of the Children's Museum, Rotary International District 5100 and Portland Parks & Recreation.

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