The creators of the YouZeum got more than they bargained for when they asked the Columbia Convention and Visitors Advisory Board for $50,000.
The board unanimously voted on Monday to send $100,000 from its attraction development fund to the exhibit. Board member Ed Baker moved to increase the amount.
“I have sat on (the board) for 18 or 19 years, and I think it is one of the most worthy projects to come through there,” Baker said.
If the Columbia City Council approves the grant, the venture will still fall about $650,000 short of the $5.2 million it needs to raise by Thursday before the Mabee Foundation of Oklahoma will follow through with a $500,000 grant.
John Ott, chairman of the YouZeum’s capital campaign, said the effort is close to securing a $250,000 grant from an undisclosed party. If the campaign fails to meet its goal by Thursday, it will be forced to seek alternative sources of money.
“You are always worrying and scrambling to work hard,” said Glenn McElroy, vice chairman of the YouZeum’s board of directors. “But that is why they set these challenge grants, so that you do worry, and you do scramble, and you do work hard.”
This is the second time the board has appropriated attraction-development money to the exhibit. Members approved a $250,000 request in June 2004.