Children’s Museum provides nearly 16,000 free admissions to children this year

~ Museum’s Sponsored Admissions and Memberships Program now in its 19th year ~
Denver, Colo. – Through its Sponsored Admissions and Memberships Program, the Children’s Museum of Denver provided 15,689 free admissions and offered free annual family memberships to children from low-income childcare centers and elementary schools during the past school year.  Since its inception 19 years ago, the program has been an important part of the Museum’s outreach efforts, removing financial barriers to Museum access and ensuring that more than 227,000 children had the opportunity to benefit from the Museum’s educational programming and interactive exhibits.

Qualifying schools and childcare centers receive free educational programs facilitated by Museum educators, and roundtrip bus transportation when funding allows. In addition, each participating child is offered a free yearlong family membership that allows them to attend the Museum repeatedly to share its expertly designed learning experiences with their entire families.

The program is open to childcare centers and elementary schools with student populations in which 50% or more are eligible for the National School Lunch Program. On average, 84% of students in the 89 elementary schools served last year were eligible for free or reduced price school lunches. An additional 20 low-income preschools, childcare centers and other programs participated, such as Denver Inner City Parish, Tennyson Center for Children and area programs serving teen mothers and their children.

According to the Colorado Children’s Campaign’s 2014 KIDS COUNT report, 18% of Colorado children live in poverty; only two states seeing more growth in childhood poverty since 2000. Children living in poverty are faced with a substantial educational achievement gap. A study conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation indicates that Colorado has one of the largest income-related achievement gaps in the nation, with only 21% of low-income students demonstrating proficiency in reading, compared to 55% of their more affluent peers—a difference of 34%.

The Sponsored Admissions and Memberships Program at the Children’s Museum of Denver works to bridge this gap by providing curriculum-enhancing educational opportunities for students PreK through grade 3, and extended learning beyond the classroom with free annual family memberships.

As the Museum embarks on a major expansion, it remains committed to sustaining this program as a valuable resource serving metro-area communities. When the new Children’s Museum of Denver opens in late 2015, the Sponsored Admissions and Memberships Program will also expand, increasing current efforts by 47%.

The Sponsored Admissions and Memberships Program is made possible by donations from generous corporations, foundations and individuals. 2013/14 funders include: BBVA Compass Foundation, DanPaul Foundation, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, Denver Post Community Foundation, Helen M. McLoraine Children’s Museum of Denver Endowment Fund, J. K. Mullen Foundation, Nord Family Foundation, PeyBack Foundation, Jared Polis Foundation Gift Fund, Rose Community Foundation, Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, Singer Family Foundation, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo Corporate Giving and Xcel Energy Foundation. In addition, the program was supported through generous contributions made to the special appeal at the Museum’s annual Birthday Bash gala.

About the Children’s Museum of Denver
The Children’s Museum of Denver believes in kid-powered learning. Every day, expertly designed exhibits and programs open doors for Colorado’s curious young minds to express what they know and to discover, create and explore more – on their own terms.
 Since 1973, the Children’s Museum of Denver has served the metro-Denver community as a learning institute dedicated to the education and growth of young children, newborn through age 8, and their caregivers.
 The Museum provides rich play experiences and a dynamic learning environment for children to joyously learn through play. We offer innovative and interactive Playscapes (hands-on exhibits), engaging daily programming and exciting year-round special events. Last year, they served more than 348,000 children and their grown-ups.
 The Children’s Museum of Denver is a 501(c)(3), private non-profit organization, and a Tier II SCFD member.

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