A group that wants young people to fall in love with math and science has raised $800,000 in a little less than three years to help fulfill its mission.
The Science Society has deposited the money with the Toledo Community Foundation exclusively to enhance the downtown Imagination Station.
“That’s an amazing amount of money to get people to voluntarily give,” Robert Savage, president of the Science Society, said before the group’s semiannual meeting Sunday evening at the Imagination Station. “Our overall theory is none of us alone could afford to put a million dollars into something, but many hands make light work.”
In 2010, members of the Science Society set a goal of raising $1 million in three years. They intend to use the money for a new permanent exhibit or other enhancement at the museum, which gets 40 percent of its operating budget from a five-year, 0.17-mill levy paid by Lucas County property owners.
Mr. Savage said members have been visiting science centers across the continent to get ideas of how best to invest the money. He said the group will be happy to duplicate something that works well.
“We don’t need an original of something,” he said. “We’re trying to motivate the young people in this part of America to fall in love with math and science. That’s really our primary mission. If somebody has discovered something in Toronto or Indianapolis that attracts people that are younger to come to the place and then, when they get there, excites them about the wonders of math and science, if we copy that and bring that here, that’s just as good as having the first one.”
Members of the Science Society are scheduled to reconvene in November to vote on how best to use the money, which by that time, Mr. Savage hopes, will have exceeded $1 million. Annual dues range from $2,500 to $15,000, and the society so far has 90 members, he said.
Lori Hauser, chief executive officer of the Imagination Station, said she is excited to think of the ways the group is working to expand the museum’s focus on science, technology, engineering, and math.
“The Science Society is a fabulous support to our organization at a couple different levels,” she said, explaining that the group not only will create experiences and environmental changes at the Imagination Station, but its members are actively involved in visiting different science centers to bring the best ideas back to Toledo.
“The possibilities are vast as to how they could choose to make that investment,” Ms. Hauser said.