Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center closing in on $3.65 M goal

By Betsy Dolan 

With under a million dollars to go, the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center is gearing up for their final push to raise $3.65 million by December 31.

The project, which will be a partnership with the nationally recognized Children’s Museum of Houston (CMH), will be located in a 10,000 square foot existing brick building in the historic Imperial Development and is slated to open in the summer of 2015.

After meeting the George Foundation’s $1-million matching challenge grant months ahead of the October 31 deadline, the museum’s capital campaign committee is working to raise the remaining $960,000 by the end of the year. The $3.65 million represents the museum’s first three years of programming and operating costs.

“This is the first time that the Children’s Museum of Houston has attempted a project like this,” said Rachel Leaman, Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center Campaign Co-Chair. “But the timing is right with the growth in Fort Bend County and the number of young families moving in.”

The Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center will mirror the location at CMH, providing six primary exhibits, that will focus on childhood questions such as “How Does It Work?,” “Where Does It Come From?,” and “Can I Solve That?”. The exhibits will have a distinct Fort Bend flavor. Another Time Soda Fountain in Rosenberg and Wells Fargo Bank recently pledged $50,000 for the naming rights in the children’s diner and bank in Kidtropolis.

The idea to bring a permanent children’s museum to Fort Bend County, started seven years ago when a group of Fort Bend citizens approached CMH about opening a satellite facility in Sugar Land. The temporary museum was open for six weeks in the summer of 2007 and 2008 in Sugar Land Town Center and brought in over 21,000 visitors each year.

“As a mom of three and as someone who grew up going to the Children’s Museum, the opportunity to have a tool to encourage hands-on learning in our own backyard is invaluable”, said Leaman.

Top-level naming opportunities remain in its meeting rooms at $100,000 each as well as naming rights for the TotSpot exhibit for $300,000 and the Kidtropolis exhibit for $400,000. In addition, several columns in the museum’s main entry are available for sponsors. Families can also purchase tiles for a permanent display in the museum and there are also opportunities for grandparents to get involved with the Grandparent Wall of Fame.

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