According to Kennedy Centre press release, John F. Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts has gone beyond it fundraising goals. The project upped its target of the planned expansion by another $50 million. The campaign is targeting $135.9 million that will be used to expand the centre and include riverfront pavilion, a pedestrian bridge that will link the Kennedy Centre and the Pavilion. Moreover, the project is targeting to include three new pavilions, offices, dining space, and education and rehearsal space.
The Kennedy Centre was established in 1971 and see about 3 million visitors each year. Most of the visitors are children who attend the facility as part of c community outreach and educational programs. Centre leaders have expressed the vision of delivering expanded facility by 2018.
The campaign of expanding the Kennedy centre for performing art started back in 2013 with a target of raising $125bmillion for expansion and $25 million for programming initiatives. However, due to strict scrutiny by federal planning agencies, the designed has changed, and the cost of construction has risen. The fact that the project of this magnitude is fully funded by contributed donations reflects a passion for arts in our community and country at large.
Earlier, at the Centre’s board meeting, Dick Devos a Michigan philanthropist along with his wife Betsy Devos announced that they would give the centre $22.5 million to continue with its noble purpose of training arts.
Dick Devos is the son of Richard DeVos, Amway founder. This was not the first time for Dick Devos to donate astronomical contributions to the Kennedy Centre. Often, the family has donated millions of dollars to Dick and Betsy Devos Foundation. The charity was founded by Dick and his wife Betsy Devos as a vehicle of giving back to the community in response to financial blessing they have received over the years.
The foundation is well known in Grand Rapids for its support of a broad range of community initiatives. However, it seems Dick and Betsy has a soft spot for education. Through the foundation, they have supported and donated heavily on various education initiatives such Rehoboth Christian School, Princeton University, Davenport University Education Freedom Fund, and the West Michigan Aviation Academy, which was the first chartered high school with a focus on aeronautical.
Sometimes the arts are easily overlooked in a discussion of education developments, but I am thrilled to see passionate people such as Devos family take a keen interest in Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts. It is nice to see there are Americans who cares deeply about the role of arts in our society.