Officials of the Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Center in Nebraska City said they need $50,000 by the end of June to keep the center's doors open.
Officials of the Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Center in Nebraska City said they need $50,000 by the end of June to keep the center’s doors open.
According to a letter mailed to members making a “urgent financial request,” the center’s board is attempting to raise money to match a $150,000 challenge grant given to it by a private donor to make up for money lost because of government sequestration.
The challenge is for $50,000 each year for three years.
“The federal government promised us $150,000 for ten years,” said Doug Friedli, the executive director of the center.
So far, the center has received around $6,000 from donors since the letters were sent out, said Friedli. If the center is unable to raise the money, it will not be able to operate, he said.
“We’ll just not be able to stay open,” said Friedli. “We’d have to give (the center) back to the federal government, but we’re not sure if they have the money to keep it open.”
Organizers of the foundation that operates the center had always planned on becoming self-sufficient by building a permanent endowment to sustain operations — a plan that was scheduled to take six more years.
“Now the rules have kind of changed,” said Friedli.
Since opening in 2004, the center has had over 160,000 visitors. The Center hosted 42 field trips last year and hosted visitors from 32 foreign countries.
“We would hate to lose the opportunity to introduce Nebraska City,” said Friedli. “We opened this place without any debt, and we want to stay that way.”