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Saffrin Foundation donates $1 million to Explore & More

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Explore and More Children's Museum is receiving a significant cash gift for its capital campaign, as it moves forward with plans to build a new home on Buffalo's waterfront.

The Paul A. Saffrin Foundation is donating $1 million to the museum's Play It Forward campaign. The money, officials explained, will be used to sponsor one of seven educational zones planned for the new facility at Canalside. The zone to be supported by the Saffrin gift will be known as Being Good Neighbors.

"Being Good Neighbors as an educational play zone holds special significance," said Explore and More CEO Douglas Love. "It really speaks to the heart of who we are and what we do. We're building a world-class institution for and about Buffalo."

The announcement was held inside a gymnasium at Eggert Road Elementary School in Orchard Park, where fourth graders were playing just feet away from where officials were speaking. Two of Paul Saffrin's children are enrolled at the school. 

"Those of us fortunate enough to call the City of Good Neighbors our home understand the importance of being good neighbors," Saffrin said. "I can think of no better legacy to leave my children, and all of our children, than the opportunity to discover the world around them and all of the things that make our hometown special," Saffrin said. 

Groundbreaking for the new museum is scheduled for March 2017. The museum is expected to be completed and opened some time in the second half of 2018. 

The current Explore and More Children's Museum is located in East Aurora. By moving into Buffalo, museum leaders say they'll be able to provide an educational opportunity for children in a city where half the student population begin their education at a remedial level.

"As countless studies prove, learning through play is critical for healthy child development and is sadly missing in the lives of so many children, particularly in the City of Buffalo," said David McNamara, chairman of Explore and More's Play It Forward campaign.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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