• A Case Study of the Challenger Learning Center of Greater Rochester

      Balzano, Betsy Ann; Ribble, Robert B.; Baker, Patricia E.; O'Leary, Carol T. (1994-07-01)
      The Challenger Learning Center of Greater Rochester (CLCGR) is a privately funded hands-on math, science, and technology educational facility for the Greater Rochester area which serves groups from all over Western New York. It is a computer-driven simulation of a space mission that motivates students to apply teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills to the task of “flying a mission” in the mock-up Space Station and Mission Control. The author surveyed the private donors who funded the CLCGR to analyze the process of building and operating the center and to determine whether there existed generalized principles or characteristics of charitable donations to educational initiatives by the private sector. These characteristics could then be emphasized when approaching potential funders for corporate, foundation, or private donations. The author found that donors sought out programs which addressed real-world needs for a large sector of the target population in a reasonable, sustainable, and innovative way. The reputation of the operating organization and the recognition gained from the community were also important for swaying prospective donors. Donation sizes were decided by the donor’s budget, amount asked for, and relative size of other donations. Most donors expected some kind of feedback, reporting, or accounting of the use and effectiveness of their gift, as well as some form of publicity. The method of donor solicitation was only of importance to large donors, who desired credible or well-known solicitors to lead the approach. These findings could thus be used for future privately-funded educational initiatives.