Editorial: GivingTuesday Offers Opportunity to Build a Better Future
By the Herald Editorial Board
During much of the pandemic, the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett was light on the kids and relied on the imagination to bring it to fruition.
The Downtown Everett Museum was closed for most of 2020 and this year to protect public health, with the exception of some virtual programming, until it reopens in June. But at the same time, the popular museum of kid-focused activities, exploration and fun learning continued to exert its imagination and efforts on a fundraising campaign and building an addition to 47,000 square feet on four floors.
Construction – hard to miss now on a drive through the city center – is moving quickly towards its scheduled opening in fall 2022; the building’s hull is complete and at least one major exhibit – a 20-foot mock-up of a tugboat for the museum’s “Export, Import, Our Port” exhibit was hoisted to the second floor of the expansion in October.
Along with this exhibit, two of the floors of the addition will be dedicated to new galleries and hands-on activities focused on a Woodlands Adventure and Canopy Gallery, Ecosystem Gallery, Distribution Center Gallery, and an It! Zoned.
The museum is now open Wednesday through Sunday, with entry by timed tickets, but children and their adults are welcome to stay as long as they wish. Masks are mandatory and disinfection stations are located throughout the museum. And the museum is looking forward to welcoming more visitors with the increased availability of covid-19 vaccines for children 5 years and older. Encouraging vaccinations, Imagine Children’s Museum organized two vaccination clinics.
Whether the addition is needed in a growing county only requires a quick glance at the numbers. When it opened in 2004, the museum hoped to welcome some 60,000 visitors per year. In 2019, before the pandemic, the museum welcomed 257,000 visitors per year.
Completing the museum expansion – as well as maintaining children’s occupancy, engagement and learning during museum tours – requires continued financial support from the community. That support has been there, said Sherri Dotson, the museum’s director of philanthropy. The construction campaign has raised more than $ 18 million of the campaign’s $ 25 million goal, which it expects to achieve by the opening of the addition next year.
“But we still need funds for general operations, especially after being closed for over a year,” Dotson said.
In addition to an online auction starting this week, the museum is also soliciting donations during today’s GivingTuesday, the annual global celebration of generosity that encourages financial contributions to charities and nonprofits. . In addition, it is possible to purchase memberships and gift certificates. More information on donations is available at www.imaginecm.org/expansion/fundraising/waystogive/.
As difficult as the pandemic has been for Imagine Children’s Museum, other nonprofits and charities are also relying on support from financial donations. And people – and foundations – have been generous in 2020.
Charitable giving in the United States reached a record high of $ 471 billion in 2020, a 3.8% increase from 2019, according to Giving USA’s annual report. Even though corporate donations fell 6%, donations from individuals and foundations rose enough to set records. Donations from individuals increased by 10% in 2020.
Donations should, of course, be directed towards the efforts and organizations that matter most to you, and those who want to keep their money in the community and support the work of other nonprofits can consider three websites that support local efforts. Those looking to support local charities and foundations can check out United Way of Snohomish County (uwsc.org); Community Foundation of Snohomish County (cf-sc.org) or the Snohomish County GIVE website (scgive.org/) and its list of specific groups and requests.
Charity requires a certain care, especially when some seek to profit from our generosity. People should be especially wary of phone calls and emails asking for donations, as these are often used in scams. Donating to a charity you contact is often safer because it gives you more control and the ability to see where your money is going.
The Washington Secretary of State’s website has links to a number of charity watchdogs, which assess and review charities.
Among the most useful are:
Wise Giving Alliance from the Better Business Bureau, www.give.org, which accredits charities and provides donor reports on hundreds of charities, rating them on governance, effectiveness, finances and fundraising practices funds; and
Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org, which also offers ratings and information on charities, scoring the most percentage of donations that go to programs rather than overhead and on the accountability and transparency of the organization charitable. He also offers advice on smart giving.
As the fight against covid-19 continues, it’s important to find ways to support our community and foster a future that builds on the best aspects of our lives before the pandemic. Our charitable donations are a down payment on that future.
In the case of Imagine Children’s Museum, this investment is paid off by the smiles of the children.