Story last updated at 4/10/2013 - 6:21 pm
One of the largest private foundations in the Pacific Northwest has made a substantial donation to Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) help fund construction of the Walter Soboleff Center in Juneau.
The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has awarded $500,000 for the center, which is slated to break ground this year.
"So exciting!" said SHI President Rosita Worl. "I don't know if people heard me screaming and shouting down from my end of the office, 'We got the grant!' It's just marvelous to have that kind of support from these private foundations."
The center has received major support from the State of Alaska, City and Borough of Juneau voters, federal grants, Sealaska, the Rasmuson Foundation and numerous individuals. This is the first time SHI has secured funding from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, said Worl, adding the amount exceeded expectations.
"This was a very significant and large grant to us," Worl said. "It was larger than what we had hoped for, so it was really an awesome surprise for us."
SHI is in the final phase of fundraising for the center, which will cost about $20 million to build. The center is named for the late Dr. Walter Soboleff, an influential Tlingit leader and former Chair of SHI's board of trustees. (For more information on the center, see www.sealaskaheritagecenter.com.)
The M. J. Murdock Trust was created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, co-founder of Tektronix, Inc., and an innovative, entrepreneurial leader with business involvements and interests throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Since its establishment on June 30, 1975, the Trust has focused most of its grantmaking efforts in the five states of the Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. A historical emphasis in grantmaking has been in higher education, scientific research and development, human social services, health care, and the arts.