Youzeum confident it reached goal

Backers of the project say gifts given this week should meet the required $1.2 million.
Friday, July 1, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:15 a.m. CST, Tuesday, February 24, 2009


YouZeum supporters, with their backs against an $800,000 wall and facing the possibility of losing a sizeable grant, said Thursday they believe they have met their capital campaign goal of raising $1.2 million.


Last year, the Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., said it would give YouZeum a $500,000 grant, contingent upon YouZeum raising the balance of the money needed to meet the project’s total cost of $5.2 million by June 30. YouZeum had previously raised $4 million for the project. YouZeum launched the campaign in May, when the deadline already loomed. This week, however, the dollars came rushing in.


“We feel that we have met that goal, but we’ll only know for certain when they give us the OK and the check is in the mail,” YouZeum board president Jim Ritter said.


While YouZeum trustees have continually said they would seek new contributors, they found themselves returning to old friends.


The rush of donations began Monday and ended Wednesday. The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau announced a $100,000 contribution Monday, subject to approval by the Columbia City Council. Boone Hospital Center’s board of trustees kicked in an additional $250,000, and its operating company, BJC HealthCare, donated $150,000. Ritter said the combined $400,000 donation brings Boone Hospital Center’s and BJC HealthCare’s total gifts to more than $1.1 million.


The remaining $300,000 was contributed by individuals and groups that Ritter said will be recognized later.


“We’re going to give all of our donors recognition, but that $300,000 doesn’t mean any more than $4.8 million given prior to it,” Ritter said.


It appears the interactive health and fitness center, which will be located in the old Federal Building on Cherry Street, has officially raised all the money it needs to renovate the building and pay for exhibits.


“We’ve actually raised an additional $500,000 for extra costs,” Ritter said. Those include classrooms, equipment and a salary for a museum director that Ritter says the group hopes to hire by January.


The group’s capital campaign relied on a blitz of television, radio, print ads and pledge cards.

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