The Museum brings so many different people together in an environment that ignites a curiosity and passion for STEM learning that lasts a lifetime. Over the past year, the Museum welcomed more than 1.4 million visitors. However, less than a third of the cost of operating the Museum comes from tickets and membership. Philanthropic support fills the gap—every dollar raised subsidizes the visitor experience. Gifts to the Museum are essential to maintaining its interactive exhibits, dynamic programs, and innovative curricula.
“Philanthropic support gives you the ability to imagine, cre-ate, and bring your mission to life,” said Ellie Starr, senior vice president of advancement. “What the Museum does best is act as a convener so that every- one can find a way to plug in, see themselves as a learner, and see themselves as welcome and advance what they’re trying to do in their own life. It is the place for everyone. It is in its DNA. Every aspect of everything we do at the Museum is about giving public access to STEM learning.”
Starr, who has been at the Museum since 2015, brings a wealth of experience as a senior leader and fundraiser for world-class institutions. When asked what comes to mind about the power of philanthropy, she said she immediately thinks about Michael
Bloomberg. “I would say that Michael Bloomberg is the world’s best example of how philanthropy can have dramatic, positive change in the world,” said Starr.
Bloomberg Philanthropies works to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people by focusing on five key areas: the arts, education, the environment, government innovation, and public health. They work to improve the lives of millions of people, and have invested in 510 cities and 129 countries. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies invested $767 million around the world. Over his lifetime, Bloomberg has so far given more than $8 billion to philanthropy.
In his 2019 Annual Letter on Philanthropy, Bloomberg said, “I always believe that tomorrow will be better than today. But I’m also a realist, and I know that believing and hoping won’t make it so. Doing is what matters.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies gave the Museum a transformative $50 million gift in 2016, establishing the William and Charlotte Bloomberg Science Education Center in honor of his parents. An entrepreneur, philanthropist, and three-term mayor of New York, Bloomberg grew up down the street from the Museum, in the town of Medford. In an interview with the New York Times, he spoke about the profound impact the Museum has had in his life.
“When I was growing up, Saturday mornings meant one thing only to me: a trip to the Museum of Science,” Bloomberg said. “Those visits stretched my mind in ways my schoolwork didn’t. They taught me to listen, question, test, and analyze. Figuring out how things work—and how they can work better—is what led me to become an engineer, a technology entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and a mayor.”
The transformational gift solidified the Museum’s position as one of the premier educational institutions in the world by ensuring the longevity and stability of the existing education division, and supported the creation of new computational thinking and food science initiatives modeled after the Museum’s premier engineering and STEM programs.
“When philanthropist give us support, it enables us to develop programs in a sustainable way and work with the community in a collaborative way,” said Annette Sawyer, senior vice president of education and enrichment programs.