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Yakima Valley Museum Fund Drive Receives Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Gift of $500,000

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
John Baule
Yakima Valley Museum
Phone: 509.248.0747

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima Valley Museum's Preserving Yakima's Legacy campaign has reached 71 percent of its goal of $3.9 million, with a recent boost of $500,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This grant will be used to support programs for children and their families.

The museum, which receives no government funding, preserves the region's history and makes it accessible to the general public and students of all ages. The 56,000-square-foot educational resource houses over 40,000 objects and welcomes more than 30,000 visitors annually.

The museum has been encouraged by a groundswell of local and regional support. "The success so far of the fund development campaign is an encouraging sign that people share our vision of a new museum for a new century. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with its commitment to life-long learning and serving vulnerable children and families, will help us reach out to our community in more meaningful and effective ways," said Museum Director John Baule.

Baule added, "The funds will enable us to develop and implement innovative educational programming with hands-on activities throughout our galleries, interactive computer stations, new programming partnerships with agencies serving children at risk, and the expansion of programming supporting the special exhibition series. The museum is both honored and excited by the Gates' gift."

Cragg M. Gilbert, chair of the development campaign, said, "The Foundation's show of confidence in the museum validates the commitments already made by the museum board, staff, and the local community, and we hope this will encourage others to step forward to complete the fund drive with the remaining $1.1 million needed." The campaign is slated to end in February of 2001.

Those interested in hearing more about the fund development and how they can participate are encouraged to call the museum at (509) 248-0747 or email John Baule at
As William Gates, Sr., Co-Chair and CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, stated, "We are enthusiastic about the work Yakima Valley Museum is doing and feel privileged to be associated with this project."

The Yakima Valley Museum, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, was founded in 1951 by the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington in the basement of the Yakima City Hall. Through the dedicated commitment of many people, the museum has grown from a one-room operation to a dynamic 56,000-square-foot educational resource housing over 40,000 objects and welcoming over 30,000 visitors annually. Three previous community-based capital fund development efforts (in 1956, 1974, and 1987) made possible the building construction, without any infusion of public tax funds. The museum continues to operate without public monies, except for an annual $8,000 maintenance grant through Yakima County.

Preserving Yakima's Legacy was officially announced in June 2000. The funds raised will make possible repairs and renovations to the museum building, the addition of a dramatic new entrance lobby, state-of-the-art lighting and computer technology to all the exhibition galleries, and improved fiscal stability to enable increased services to the community.

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