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Media Contact: 

Shell Amega
(213) 744-7446

September 3, 2003
Philanthropist Wallis Annenberg Announces Record Contribution to California Science Center
Historic Armory Building to be Named After Annenberg

LOS ANGELES (September 3, 2003)--Wallis Annenberg, Vice President of The Annenberg Foundation, announced Wednesday, during a meeting of the California Science Center Foundation Board of Trustees, a grant from The Annenberg Foundation of $25 million in support of the California Science Center’s award-winning Master Plan and Phase II expansion. Positioned as a challenge grant, to be matched dollar-for-dollar from other private and public sources, the contribution is the single largest gift in the history of the Science Center. Combined with Annenberg's earlier planning grants to the project of $6 million, her total contribution ($31 million) is believed to be the largest private gift ever to a contemporary science center in the U.S.

The gift marks a milestone in the Science Center’s Phase II campaign to expand its facilities, exhibitions and education programs, boosting the total amount of public and private funds secured to date to approximately $77 million, or more than 50 percent toward the overall funding goal of $140 million.

Annenberg, who serves as Co-Chair of the Science Center’s Phase II Campaign, stated, “Since its opening in 1998, the Science Center has consistently demonstrated a remarkable capacity for creating innovative science learning experiences and programs that are accessible to all segments of our community. This gift will ensure that the Science Center is able to continue its important work as a leader in developing high quality programming for families, teachers and students.”

California Science Center President and CEO, Jeffrey Rudolph, hailed Annenberg's generosity and leadership, “This gift from Wallis ensures that we will be able to continue momentum on our Master Plan and provide unprecedented science learning opportunities. The two additional Phase II Campaign Co-Chairs, G. Bradford Jones, Managing Director, Redpoint Ventures and Kent Kresa, Chairman, Northrop Grumman Corporation, join me in thanking Wallis for her extraordinary investment in the future of the Science Center.”

Realization of the challenge will enable the Science Center to initiate construction on the World of Ecology (nearly doubling the size of the Science Center's exhibition space), as well as complete the modernization and programming designed for the historic Armory Building.

Historic Armory Building to be Named After Annenberg

In recognition of Annenberg's generosity and support, the Science Center’s Board of Directors voted to rename the historic Armory Building as the Wallis Annenberg Building for Science Learning and Innovation.

Guided by the distinguished architect, Thomas Mayne, the renovation and re-invention of the Armory Building, located near the corner of Exposition Blvd. and Figueroa Blvd., began in February 2002 and is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2004. In its new configuration, the Wallis Annenberg Building for Science Learning and Innovation will feature state-of-the art science classrooms and lab spaces, a portion of the Science Center School (a charter school affiliated with the Los Angeles Unified School District), teacher training facilities, the Amgen Center for Science Learning including the Science Center’s school, community outreach and public programs, a NASA Educator Resource Center, the Kent and Joyce Kresa Educator Resource Hall, and the Big Lab, a grand open-air space that features thought-provoking experimentation platforms for improving the understanding and teaching of science concepts.

Bonnie Van Dorn, Executive Director of the Association of Science-Technology Centers notes, “Wallis Annenberg's remarkable generosity constitutes a transformational moment in the advancement of contemporary science centers/museums. It has the potential of changing the way the entire field is viewed by the philanthropic community.”

The California Science Center is considered to be among the premiere science centers in the world. It has received more than 7.7 million visitors since its grand opening in February 1998. The mission of the Science Center is to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences.
The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance the public well-being through improved communication. As the principal means of achieving this goal, the Foundation encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

Editor's Note: The California Science Center is located at 700 State Drive – Exposition Park, Los Angeles .Enter visitor parking at 39th & Figueroa; parking is $6 per car. Activities are on all three floors of the Science Center. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to Science Center exhibits is free; for general information, phone 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623) or visit our website at http://www.californiasciencecenter.org/. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible.


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