KANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 16, 2015) — The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to Union Station Kansas City, Inc., which operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to science education, celebration of community and preservation of history.
The three-year investment will provide funding to support general operations, including the continued production of Maker Faire - Kansas City, Maker Studio programming, event planning and management, event marketing and promotion and staff capacity to deliver programs and services.
The Kauffman grant is part of the Foundation’s Kansas City Civic strategy to support institutions and organizations that are important to the economic and cultural well-being of Kansas City.
"Union Station stands as a monument to our city’s industry, enterprise and cultural heritage. It is an important part of our history and has evolved to become a 21st century hub for innovation, entrepreneurship and community events,” said Wendy Guillies, Kauffman Foundation president and CEO. “We are proud to be a founding sponsor and ongoing supporter of Maker Faire - Kansas City and we look forward to seeing the successes at Union Station move to the next level.”
Since the Kauffman Foundation became the founding sponsor of Maker Faire at Union Station in Kansas City in 2011, the event has grown into one of the largest of its kind in the United States with a recent 2015 attendance of over 17,000 people. The annual gathering has contributed to a spike in the number of visitors to Union Station over the past five years, and spawned year-round programs through Maker Studio at Union Station.
“The Kauffman Foundation has provided the seed funding for programs that have taken root and thrived at Union Station,” George Guastello, Union Station president and CEO, said. “The Foundation’s latest support will help Maker Fare - Kansas City continue to showcase the work of innovators and it will give us the opportunity to develop new programs across the spectrum of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education for our entire community.”
“This grant is a significant recognition of the smart work the executive team, professional staff and board have already done, and a grand vote of confidence that signals to Kansas City what to expect from Union Station in the future,” said Bob Regnier, Union Station Board chairman. “In the world of making investments that make big differences, the Kauffman Foundation shines. Union Station is proud – once again – of being recognized for our efforts, accomplishment and commitment to a remarkable Kansas City future.”
“As we begin the construction phase of our western expansion this fall – which will add significant programming opportunities for our Science Center – grants like this add even more enthusiasm to what’s possible right here in the heart of our community,” Guastello said.
Union Station opened in 1914 as the primary rail transportation hub for the region. Today, Union Station is a national, regional and local landmark, serving the economic and cultural interests of the community in a variety of important ways.
Unlike other similar structures around the country, no public funds support its operations. Consequently, Union Station depends on multiple sources of earned revenue as well as philanthropic contributions from business, foundations and individuals to support specific programs and general operations.
# # #
About Union Station Kansas City, Inc.
Union Station Kansas City is a historical landmark and civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization, driven by its mission of science and history education and entertainment, hosts a variety of world-class traveling exhibits and annual community events and celebrations. Union Station is home to several permanent attractions, including Kansas City’s Science Center; the popular Model Railroad Experience; the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium; the Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre, the region’s largest screen 3D movie theater; H&R Block City Stage featuring live theater, and a selection of unique shops and restaurants. Union Station is also home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses. Visit www.unionstation.org for details.