Discovery World is a 501c3 registered nonprofit organization, receiving no government or United Way funding, and operating to provide educational experiences through interactive experiences for families and students in Milwaukee, the region and throughout the Midwest. Prior to the shocking health crisis in mid-2020, Discovery World served more than 300,000 visitors annually, more than 65,000 students and more than 1,600 campers each summer. Through community support, we provided many of these experiences at no cost to low-income children, schools and families in the region who do not have access to quality STEM educational opportunities.
Within our mission, we invoked the sentiment that Discovery World exists to inspire the next generation of engineers, designers, scientists, inventors, and community leaders. We also encouraged collaboration amongst corporate partners, educators, and community members to achieve a larger goal – provide all children with access to quality educational experiences and resources that will allow them to flourish now and in adulthood. Our team utilized programming, curriculum and exhibits to generate excitement in the minds of young people about future science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers, even before they reach high school and beyond. By focusing on career readiness at a young age, we were able to provide resources to children of all backgrounds, gender, abilities and socioeconomic status.
This is extremely important for Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the Nation’s Report Card) found that the science black-white educational gap in Wisconsin is bigger than any other part of the country and remains unchanged (2019). We seek to be a resource in remedying that problem. In the wake of COVID-19, Discovery World was forced to abruptly close our doors on March13, 2020. We eliminated unnecessary expenses, curtailed our operations and began to create and disseminate online STEM resources for families via our website. We also began making modifications that allowed us to re-open the museum for summer camp and for the general public. At the end of June, we were able to safely open our doors for summer campers and in mid-July, we then opened our doors to members and guests to enjoy the exhibits. As we venture into the 2020/21 school year, the vast array of field trips that we offer to schools – both on scholarship on not – will not happen. Schools are taking necessary steps to prevent the spread of this virus and that means cancelling in-person field trips, and often doing away with science education in general. Our team is working to modify the field trip experience and is poised to offer virtual and at-home science education in other ways.
In the meantime, we are focused on the sustainability and longevity of our organization – one that began in the basement of Milwaukee-based Boys and Girls Club and now one that exhibits in a vast building on the shores of Lake Michigan. Discovery World is a Milwaukee icon, a pinnacle of our great City, and Covid-19 will not dismantle years of strong leadership, growth and passion to inspire STEM education. However, with our ability to earn revenue significantly limited by COVID-19 restrictions, the organization is in need of support to maintain our operations and establish solid footing for which to move forward from the pandemic’s impact on our bottom line. We need your backing and support as we move forward, look to the future and invest in Milwaukee’s youth, families and communities who need us most. We fill a critical educational and inspirational void in Milwaukee and we simply cannot fade into the background.
Support Discovery World via this campaign provides funding for our many species at the museum, our educational outreach to deserving students, families and schools, and keeps our doors open until the pandemic becomes a memory. Give a gift today!