Thanks to the help of more than a thousand generous donors and dedicated volunteers, we have successfully completed a capital campaign that raised $29.3 million to build the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center.
The $29,334,112 raised for planning, land purchase, construction and exhibit installation included a combination of federal ($16.7M), state ($7.6M), Fairbanks North Star Borough ($250,000) and private ($4.7M) funds. Doyon, Limited became the first major private donor to the campaign in 2003. Their $500,000 commitment set the stage for the private fund-raising effort which saw donations from businesses and individuals from around the state and across the nation.
A Leadership Team made up of 28 volunteers from across Alaska was committed to raising funds to complete the building with zero debt. The project required a small line of credit during the construction phase, but that has been paid off and the Center is now debt free, which is what makes operating costs affordable to our lease-holding partners.
It was the late Senator Ted Stevens who first challenged the project partners to show how they could afford to operate the building once it was built. “The Senator always told us that we shouldn’t rely on state or federal funds to operate,” said Executive Director Cindy Schumaker. “The high cost of energy makes it tough, but with nearly five years under our belt, we’re doing it.”
The center continues to seek funds for on-going exhibit improvements and to build an endowment.
Senator Ted Stevens, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Congressman Don and Lu Young, Governor Sarah Palin, Governor Frank and Nancy Murkowski.
Sam Kito, Jr. Chair
Al Adams, Charlie Ball, Bill Deaver, Rhonda Boyles, Buddy Brown, Steve Frank, Mark Hamilton, Jo Heckman, Willie Hensley, Jerry Isaac, Oliver Leavitt, Byron Mallott, Carl Marrs, Kathy Mayo, Jim Sampson, Cathy Schultz, John Shively, Steve Thompson, Jim Whitaker, Richard Wien, Orie Williams