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Foundations donate $700K to new waterfront children's museum


With hundreds of Canalside visitors as a backdrop, Explore & More Children's Museum announced several generous gifts on Friday. The museum has received more than $700,000 for its upcoming move from East Aurora to the Buffalo waterfront from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the John R. Oishei Foundation and the Peter Cornell Trust.

Trustee Jock Mitchell says the Cornell Trust is a small player in the philanthropic community hoping to make an impact.

"That's the message that we need to send today. We need to hear from a lot of small players. We don't measure up in size with Oishei or the Community Foundation, but our $50,000, we hope, will go a long way and we hope a lot of other smaller foundations and individuals will step up to the plate, as well," Mitchell said.

An anonymous donor with the Community Foundation contributed $370,000 toward the project. The money will be used to support two exhibits at the new site: Canal Works within the Moving Water Education Play Zone, which will focus on the importance of water to Buffalo, and a house representing Buffalo's growing immigrant population in the Being Good Neighbors Educational Play Zone.

“This generous family asked the Community Foundation to explore funding opportunities that align with their charitable goals and the Explore & More Children’s Museum rose to the top,” said Community Foundation President/CEO Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker.

An additional $300,000 was given to Explore and More from the Oishei Foundation Friday. Total donations by the Oishei and Community foundations now total at least a half-million dollars each, with the recent contributions adding to earlier grants.

“We are humbled by the early support that we have received from so many local foundations who appreciate what a children’s museum will mean for downtown Buffalo and all of Western New York,” said Explore & More Executive Director Barbara Leggett.

Explore & More is planning to build a new museum at an area known as the South Aud Block. The new facility is slated to open in 2016.