Museum Becomes Philanthropist; Announces Unprecedented Grants to Local, National Non-profits

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One of the nation's most-popular museums, USS Midway Museum has become a philanthropist by making grants to other mission-aligned non-profits. The museum expects to more than double the $456,000 it awarded today to $1 million within two years.

One of the nation’s most popular non-profit museums doesn’t rely on philanthropy to meet expenses. Instead, it has become a grant-making agency to support other non-profits.

Today the Midway Foundation, partnering with the USS Midway Museum, awarded more than $450,000 to 25 San Diego and national non-profit organizations that serve active-duty military personnel and their families; veterans; and law enforcement agencies. Nearly $50,000 also has been set aside for future grants this year. The Foundation hopes to reach $1 million in annual grants in the near future. Nineteen recipient organizations are in San Diego. Six are national organizations.

An unparalleled success story, the USS Midway Museum opened in San Diego in 2004 and has become the most-visited ship museum in the world. It will set its 8th consecutive annual attendance record of nearly 1.5 million visitors in 2017. On TripAdvisor, it is ranked #5 out of 35,000 U.S. museums of all types.

“It’s remarkable that a non-profit museum—in only 14 years—has become so successful that it can step forward to be a principal driver of philanthropy in a large city like San Diego,” said Malin Burnham, Midway Foundation Board Chairman.

Its financial success has led to the creation of the grant-making Midway Foundation about two years ago. Last year $250,000 in grants were made. The grants directly support the USS Midway Museum’s vision of becoming America’s living symbol of freedom. The grants are funded by museum revenues and philanthropic gifts.

This year’s grants vary from $5,000 to $35,000 and support a wide array of projects and programs ranging from making emergency financial assistance available to military families in crisis to advanced manufacturing training for service members transitioning to civilian life to purchasing special body armor for police officers.

Grants totaling $191,000 will support active-duty family service organizations for youth development, licensed clinical counseling, liaison services to community resources, college scholarships, civilian transition programs, family financial crisis support, emergency food assistance, and for a program that enables active-duty personnel stationed overseas to read books to family members back home.

Several veteran-serving organizations will receive a total of $225,000 for job training, critical home repairs, wreath placement at national cemeteries, and to support health/safety net services and housing for homeless veterans.
An additional $40,000 will be awarded to provide body armor designed to protect peace officers from high-powered weapon fire and to provide ballistic vests for police working dogs.

This year’s recipient agencies representing local, regional, and national efforts include such wide-ranging agencies as the Armed Services YMCA, San Diego Police Foundation, USO, United Through Reading, San Diego Food Bank, SEAL Family Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and Workshops for Warriors.

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