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Wonderworks hits snag

Museum throws a first birthday party

Wonderworks has been open in its new building for a year now and will mark that fact with a celebration and auction Saturday night, Nov. 16, at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 at Wonderworks, Klindt’s Booksellers and the door. Proceeds will go toward museum operating expenses.

“We’ve been gathering donations for the auction,” said Erin Kovalchuk, Wonderworks board chair. “We have some really wonderful donations.”

Breakaway Promotions is offering a free race entry and a local coach is donating time to train the person for the event. Google is donating a lunch. Children’s birthday party packages, a night’s stay at Cousins’ Country Inn, spa packages, jewelry, wine, bags from Dakine, hats from Pistil, and a haircut and color from Salon Camilia will also be on the block, among other items.

“We’re also trying to encourage people who come to the auction to purchase memberships for foster families and other people who don’t make a lot of money and are in need of the memberships,” Kovalchuk said. Membership is $60 and provides free entry for the calendar year, as well as discounts on programs and party rentals.

The local area is home to 18 foster children under age 8.

The celebration will include appetizers and the first glass of wine for the $20 admission. Luke Throop will be performing on guitar.

Wonderworks will also offer a second fundraising event the first week in December, a Paint on Glass class with local artist Mike Newman.

The adult class is $40 and participants can take home their artwork. Participants are encouraged to bring their own refreshments for the fun and social class.

A second class for children will feature master recycler Jess Caudell and will focus on learning to make lavender Russian dolls and pocket notebooks.

Cost is $7 for members and $10 for nonmembers, ages 5 and older.

For more information on wonderworks events, email info@wonderworksc...

Wonderworks Children’s Museum will be taking a little longer than planned to repay the Port of The Dalles for purchase of their new building after a major grant they had hoped to secure didn’t come through.

The agreement between the two organizations had stipulated that the $219,000 loan would be repaid within five years, which comes due later in May 2014. But the port commissioners, expressing pleasure at their progress during an October meeting, agreed to allow more time.

“We want to help you succeed,” said Bob McFadden, commission president, adding that Wonderworks is good for downtown The Dalles and the community as a whole. “You’ve done everything with the building you said you would and probably a bit more.”

Murdoch Charitable Trust turned down the nonprofit’s request for funding.

“They specifically said they were concerned that we had so much contributed income and not enough earned income,” said Erin Kovalchuk, Wonderworks board president. The organization hopes to attract new memberships, which count as earned income rather than donations, and other methods of boosting earned income.

They’ve been working with retired businessman Guy Moser to develop a business plan.

“Guy has a number of good ideas for us that we are interested in trying,” Kovalchuk said. They’ll be pursuing another major grant with Meyer Memorial Trust. “We’re hoping when we go forward with Meyer we will look like a better prospect to them.”

The overall building project cost is $672,000 and Wonderworks supporters have raised $532,000 so far, including $140,000 earmarked for building purchase, leaving $79,000 left to pay off the port.

“Some is from fundraising, some from donations, some from businesses and some from grants,” Kovalchuk said. “We have a lot of income sources.”

Once Wonderworks pays off the building and parking lot, Kovalchuk said the rest of the amount can take a little longer. “Right now our main goal is to pay off that building,” she said. Once that is accomplished, she said other grantors who weren’t interested in them in the past because they didn’t officially own their building will be more interested. “Several more, I think, would say yes.” Most grantors expect the organization to raise at least 50 percent of the project revenue, Kovalchuk noted, and Wonderworks has far exceeded that figure.

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