Inspire Lifelong Learning

“We have to make sure that what is central to this museum endures, and let that which is new, innovative and even provocative emerge."

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Inspire Lifelong Learning

Lucia Riddle

Giving Can Inspire Future Generations

Lucia Riddle wants her contributions to the Smithsonian Campaign to play two roles at the National Museum of African Art: “We have to make sure that what is central to this museum endures,” she says, “and let that which is new,  innovative and even provocative emerge. I’m a businessperson. The money we put here now will help young people and others for generations to come.” Riddle, who is on the museum’s advisory board, was vice president for government relations for a global asset management firm and now operates her own business.

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National Museum of Natural History Library

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Hope L. and John L. Furth

Their Generosity Helps Teach the Teachers

Hope L. Furth is a teacher with a passion for libraries. She and her husband, John L. Furth, created the John L. and Hope L. Furth Endowment for the Smithsonian Libraries to enhance educational programs and professional training. “The Libraries represents many of the values most important to John and me: scholarship, education, dissemination of knowledge, collaboration,” Hope Furth says. “The opportunity to support the Libraries at one of the world’s stellar institutions is a great joy to us both.”

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Smithsonian Assistant Secretary for Education and Access Claudine Brown

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Reaching Out to Educate, Serve

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is well known for supporting forward-looking initiatives around the world. The foundation established an endowment at the Smithsonian to fund innovative, multi-disciplinary education projects. The Youth Access Endowment is shaping how the Smithsonian approaches education, reaching students and teachers in underserved regions. Through this endowment, children in Boston photographed deep space with robotic telescopes. Others in Maryland mapped out their personal narratives through technology and art. “The Smithsonian is a national treasure,” Gates says. “We must support its place in American education, culture and world history.”

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Flier Amelia Earhart is among the subjects of the One Life exhibition. Credit: Amelia Earhardt, 1937, Underwood & Underwood, National Portrait Gallery; gift of George R. Rinhart, in memory of Joan Rinhart

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Guenther and Siewchin Sommer

Endowment Gifts Inspire Galleries and Exhibits

Siewchin Yong Sommer and her late husband Guenther have a long history with the Smithsonian, establishing seven endowments and including the institution in their estate plans. Their endowment at the National Portrait Gallery has allowed the museum to develop thoughtful and innovative exhibitions such as One Life: Amelia Earhart and One Life: Martin Luther King, Jr. Their other endowments, at the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum, support galleries, collections and traveling exhibitions. "Each museum at the Smithsonian is distinct. We hope our gifts delight future generations," says Siewchin Yong Sommer.

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Elizabeth MacMillan opens the Smithsonian American Art Museum's MacMillan Education Center. With her are museum Commission Chair Ricard Brodie, left, and Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough, right.

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Elizabeth and Whitney MacMillan

MacMillan's Inspire Education Across the Smithsonian

Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan have set up many Smithsonian endowments. At the National Museum of American History, they endowed the director’s position, named in Elizabeth MacMillan’s honor, and the position of associate director for education and public engagement. At the National Museum of Natural History, the MacMillans established endowments for education and public engagement, as well as for the documentation and revitalization of endangered languages. Their gift to build the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s new education center also endows the center’s programs, ensuring they remain vibrant. "The Smithsonian enhances education through innovative programs accessible to all students," Whitney MacMillan says. "We are honored to support these endeavors." 

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Paul Neely's campaign endowment gifts reflect his interest in public policy and scholarly research. He is shown here, left, with Smithsonian former Secretary G. Wayne Clough, right. 

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Paul Neely

Gifts Spell Opportunity for Promising Scholars

As a journalist and publisher, Paul Neely digs into the ins and outs of each issue. He’s fascinated by history and the connection between public policy and scholarly research. His first campaign gift established the James Smithson Fellowship Program, which offers a post-doctoral scholar the opportunity to study how policies and laws shape the sciences, humanities and arts. A more recent one sets up fellowships at the National Museum of American History.  “I have focused on fellowships because scholars are at the heart of what we do here. As their careers develop, these fellows will be the leaders of the future,” Neely says. 

 

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Philanthropic gifts from Barbara and Craig Barrett and others helped to build Q?rius, whose interactive environment connects teens to science.

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Barbara and Craig Barrett

Gift Sparks Innovative Learning Center

Barbara Barrett has been an ambassador to Finland, worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and practiced corporate, international and business law. She is certified as an astronaut and has landed a F/A-18 supersonic jet on an aircraft carrier. Craig Barrett was chief executive officer and chair of Intel Corporation. He taught at Stanford University and was a Fulbright Fellow in Denmark. Their philanthropic giving is just as ambitious. Their gift to the National Museum of Natural History helped establish Q?rius Education Center, an interactive and experimental learning space for budding scientists. “The Smithsonian has been a part of American culture for about 170 years. It’s unlike anything anywhere else in the world. It’s really important for us to build for the future so that our children and grandchildren will have this treasure house,” says Barbara Barrett.

 

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A. James Clark

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A. James Clark and The Clark Charitable Foundation

A. James Clark and The Clark Charitable Foundation

As a young engineering graduate in 1950, the late A. James Clark joined a small general contracting company that he would eventually own and transform into one of the nation’s largest privately held general contractors — Clark Construction Group, LLC. His work and philanthropy made a mark on cities across the country. In 2011, Mr. Clark established the A. James Clark Excellence in History Teaching Program at the National Museum of American History. The program transforms the teaching and learning of American history by introducing thousands of K-12 educators to exciting, effective techniques, powerful online tools and authentic content for their classrooms. In 2014, Mr. Clark’s commitment was renewed through The Clark Charitable Foundation’s gift of $5 million to endow the A. James Clark Director of Education Outreach position and fund the A. James Clark Excellence in History Teaching Program for an additional seven years, thereby ensuring his impact on teachers and students for generations to come. 

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Ken Zemrowski and Susan MacKeen at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Photo Mark Avino 

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Zemrowski and McKeen

Philanthropic Relationship Honored at the Bay Started Long Ago

Susan MacKeen and Ken Zemrowski launched their wedding reception from the dock of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on the Richard Lee boat in 2012, toasting their relationship together and with the institution. The couple had spent time volunteering at the Chesapeake Bay research center before the reception, but their relationship with the Smithsonian had started a long time prior to that. Zemrowski, a member of the Smithsonian Legacy Society, has provided for the Smithsonian through his estate plan and established a charitable gift annuity. His first date with MacKeen was attending the Smithsonian Annual Weekend in 2010. Both have been members of Smithsonian Associates, Friends of the National Zoo, the National Air and Space Society and the James Smithson Society. Through these associations, they have met conservation scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., and toured behind-the-scenes at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. “I like museums. I also like knowledge. I resonate with ‘the increase and diffusion of knowledge,’ the Smithsonian’s mission. It is an important mission. The Smithsonian is, after all, not just the bricks and mortar on the National Mall,” says Zemrowski. 

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