Gates Foundation donates $50 million to Smithsonian
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $50 million to the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum announced late Wednesday.
The money will go principally to the Youth Access Endowment, a new entitly created by the Smithsonian. Gates is giving $30 million of the gift to "reach underserved students" in the United States. The endowment targets students in grades K-12, and will create a series of interactive Web sites and online conferences.
The Gates Foundation, the largest in the world, is known for its worldwide initiatives in health but also concentrates on improving U.S.education, mostly recently starting a drive to improve community college education.
A $10-million portion of the gift will support the strategic plan of Secretary G. Wayne Clough through research and public programs. Clough called the Gates gift "transforming," in a statement released by the museum.
The final $10 million will go to the National Museum of African American History and Culture for its design and construction phase. The museum is scheduled to open on the Mall in 2015.
The Smithsonian has watched its endowment decline during the stock market troubles but the income has started to stabilize. It receives 70 percent of its budget from Congress.
| November 3, 2010; 6:40 PM ET
Categories: Jacqueline Trescott
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