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May 08, 2014

MiSci and Community Foundation Announce $300,000 Gift


(Schenectady, NY)  miSci – the Museum of Innovation and Science – and The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region today announced a $300,000 grant to the museum to help complete funding to develop a Challenger Learning Center at the region’s science center.

Based on the space shuttle and NASA space exploration program, The Challenger Learning Center (CLC) enables students to experience a space-themed science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for the first time in this region.  The program will include a two-month-long classroom study program that will help students apply and enhance their decision-making skills, solve problems and communicate.  The culmination of the students’ classroom work is a simulated space flight to launch a space probe into a comet’s tail or a flight to the moon or Mars.  The “mission” will take place at the CLC where, on NASA-type equipment, the students will work as a team, to utilize navigation, life support, science, computer technology and math skills to solve problems.  One team of students will operate the “mission control room,” while another will operate the “space vehicle”.  During the mission they will be called upon to utilize the science, math and other skills that will be taught in the classroom.

“Completing funding for the CLC has been a multi-year project but the finish line is now in sight,” said miSci Executive Director Dr. William “Mac” Sudduth.  “miSci and the Challenger Learning Center are collaborating to make this dream a reality. The CLC, along with the Dudley Observatory, which moved to miSci in 2013, will be a unique resource for STEM education in the Capital Region and a center for excellence in aerospace education.”

The $300,000 grant for the Challenger Learning Center has been awarded through the Community Impact Fund of the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region.  The donor of the grant funds wishes to remain anonymous in order to keep the focus of the gift on miSci and the Community Foundation.

“The Community Foundation is a strong supporter of the Challenger Learning Center,” said Karen Bilowith, President & CEO. “We believe this project represents opportunities for education and inspiration. We also view the construction of the Challenger Learning Center as an enhancement to Schenectady’s current evolution. We’re proud to make this grant to support the Challenger Learning Center, and we are deeply grateful to the anonymous donor who has made this possible.”

“We are grateful to The Community Foundation for helping to facilitate this grant and for their trust and backing.  The cooperation and support for the Challenger Learning Center from throughout the Capital Region is really exciting.  We know that, once we get it funded and built, it will be a huge success and help area children gain an appreciation for STEM learning,” said Challenger Learning Center President Dr. Heidi DeBlock.

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Since 1968, The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region has provided an effective means for people who care about this community to be part of shaping its future.  The Community Foundation offers donors a complete toolkit for charitable giving, expert assistance in learning more about the causes they care about, and the opportunity to join others with similar interests to learn and give together.

The Community Foundation distributed more than $4.87 million in 2013 to hundreds of not-for-profit organizations in the Capital Region and beyond. With assets of more than $60 million, the Foundation is comprised of more than 380 charitable funds created by a diverse group of individuals, families and corporations. In addition, two local independent foundations, the Bender Family Foundation and the John D. Picotte Family Foundation, contract with the Community Foundation for grantmaking assistance.

Through flexible donor services, strategic grant making and community leadership, the Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come.  For more information, please visit them online at or call 518-446-9638.


Founded in 1934, miSci is the only science center in Tech Valley offering a multimedia experience for visitors of all ages and serves school children from northeastern New York, western Massachusetts, and southern Vermont. In 2012, miSci entered into a partnership program with the San Francisco-based Exploratorium’s ExNET (Exploratorium Network for Exhibit-Based Teaching) program, miSci receives a different group of hands-on, exploratory-rich exhibits each year for five years, as well as access to the Exploratorium resources to advance each partner’s work in specific areas such as education, inquiry, science engagement, and exhibit development. The Suits-Bueche Planetarium at miSci houses the only GOTO Star Projector in the northeast and is an official NASA Space Place. miSci’s Archives include an extensive GE Photograph collection, with more than 1.6 million prints and negatives; an archival collection with more than 3,500 cubic feet of historic materials; and more than 15,000 objects relating to the history of science and technology. miSci’s Archives houses an 1878 Edison tinfoil, the second oldest documented Edison tinfoil recording, the oldest playable American voice. miSci offers Science Zone, with weekly hands-on activities and challenges; Saturday Science Zone activities are sponsored by National Grid.