Rendering by Ralph Appelbaum Associates
For Immediate Release
February 21, 2017
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund receives $10 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall
Largest single cash donation in VVMF history
Washington, D.C. – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) has received a $10 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall. VVMF is the nonprofit organization that built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in 1982. It has pursued a mission of honoring and preserving the legacy of service in America and educating all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War and era. This grant marks the largest single cash donation in VVMF’s history.
“This grant from Lilly Endowment is a big step forward in ensuring that the legacies of our Vietnam veterans will be preserved for future generations. As VVMF commemorates the 35th anniversary of The Wall and its impact on America, it’s important to point out that our work is not done. With each passing day, we are losing the voices that can tell the first-hand accounts of the Vietnam War and era. Just like the support for the building of The Wall, all funds to build the Education Center must come from private sources. We must act now to raise the remainder of the funds needed to build the Education Center at the Wall,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF.
The Education Center at The Wall will be a 25,000-square-foot building designed by Ennead Architects. It will be an interactive learning facility, with exhibits designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates. There will be multimedia exhibits giving first-person accounts of veterans and citizens who lived through the Vietnam War and era. Educational exhibits will focus on the significance of the Vietnam era and how its impact and consequences are still relevant today. Key exhibits will include a two-story Wall of Faces, a display of the 58,315 faces behind the names on The Wall, and an exhibit of some 6,000 of the more than 400,000 items that have been left over the years by visitors to The Wall. The Center also will feature an immersive educational experience, which includes the Legacy of Service Hall and the Partners in Service exhibit.
“Since its dedication 35 years ago, The Wall has helped keep in the public’s consciousness the sacrifice and legacy of service of the more than 58,000 American service members who did not return to their families after the war. Lilly Endowment is pleased that the Education Center will enhance visitors’ experiences by teaching about the Vietnam War and its deep and lasting impacts on veterans and their families and American life, said N. Clay Robbins, the Endowment’s chairman, president and CEO. “We hope that many others will join us in supporting this important effort to preserve and tell the stories of the veterans of the Vietnam War for future generations.”
The Education Center at The Wall, which will be located across the street from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, will be largely underground to preserve the harmony and sightlines of the national mall. The final site and building plans have been approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission, and VVMF is currently fundraising for the $130 million campaign. The Lilly Endowment grant brings the total funds raised to date to $42.5 million.
To find out how you can help, go to www.vvmf.org.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons J.K. Jr and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.
About the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is the nonprofit organization that built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, D.C. in 1982. VVMF is dedicated to honoring and preserving the legacy of service in America and educating all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War and era through programs, ceremonies and education materials.
Thirty-five years after building The Wall, the mission continues as VVMF raises funds to build the Education Center at The Wall. The Center will be an interactive learning facility on the national mall where our military heroes' stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten. The Education Center will feature the faces and stories of the more than 58,000 service members on The Wall and honor America's Legacy of Service, including those serving in our nation's Armed Forces today. Time Warner is the Lead Gift Benefactor in the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall. To learn more about VVMF and the future Education Center at The Wall, visit www.vvmf.org or call 202-393-0090.
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