Children who receive state assistance can now visit Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum for free, thanks to a large donation from the Washington State Employees Credit Union.
The museum and credit union announced the partnership Wednesday. The credit union pledged $225,000 per year for the next five years, for a total of more than $1 million.
The initiative, named Inspired Learning for All, is intended to help the Hands On Children’s Museum reach underserved families in Thurston County and beyond.
“We know that family, culture, community and environment shape a child’s future success,” said museum executive director Patty Belmonte.
More than 305,000 people visit the Hands On Children’s Museum each year. The museum, which has operated for 21 years, is located at 414 Jefferson St. NE near the Port of Olympia.
The contribution will allow the museum to expand its educational programs in rural and Title I schools, which have high percentages of families in poverty. The money also will fund exhibits at the museum.
Low-income families who want to attend the museum for free need only present their electronic benefits transfer card at the museum’s front desk. The program takes effect immediately.
WSECU members also will benefit from the partnership. They’ll receive a 10 percent discount on museum membership, and on WSECU Wednesdays they’ll receive half-price admission. WSECU Wednesday will be the first Wednesday of each month.
Kevin Foster-Keddy, CEO and president of the credit union, said the WSECU has challenged itself in recent years to give back more money to the community, and the Hands On Children’s Museum is the perfect recipient. Marcus Glasper, chair of the credit union’s board, agreed.
“Olympia is our home, and we have a long and and happy relationship with the Hands On Children’s Museum,” Glasper said.