City of Rancho Mirage Approves $150,000 in Matching Grant Funds for the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert Re-IMAGINATION and Reopening Project

March 16, 2022


Community responds with donations, but more grassroots efforts are needed


RANCHO MIRAGE (March 15, 2022) – The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert (CDMoD) was awarded a matching grant by the City of Rancho Mirage in the amount of $150,000 towards the museum’s Re-IMAGINATION capital campaign. In a unanimous vote on February 17th, Rancho Mirage City Council approved the grant as matching funds in order to inspire and maximize community donations towards the project.

“We could not be more pleased with the decision of the Rancho Mirage City Council,” stated Cindy Burreson, CEO of the museum. “This matching grant will help to provide funds to construct more than 40 new hands-on exhibits that is at the core of our Re-IMAGINATION campaign to reopen our doors for children and families who live in and who visit Greater Palm Springs.”

The goal of raising $3 million before December 2022 to reopen the museum is an ambitious, but attainable, objective. The overall campaign has already passed the halfway mark, with a diversity of funding sources and community support that includes grants, major gifts from individual donors, grassroots gifts and matching funds from the City of Rancho Mirage.

The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert has been closed since March of 2020. The Re-IMAGINATION campaign is a multi-phase capital campaign to replace the original exhibits and reopen the museum. At the time when the pandemic forced the museum’s closure, 85% of the organization’s income had been coming from memberships, admissions, and gift sales. With no visitors to provide revenue, the museum had little choice but to suspend operations and lay off staff.

During that time of uncertainty, the board conducted introspective conversations about what it would take to not just re-open the museum, but to renew the organization for decades to come. The bold decision was made to create a full-scale revitalization and mount a capital campaign in order to restore this treasured community resource.

Now, after months of altered living caused by the pandemic, mental health is fragile and the need to provide services for children is greater than ever.  More than 140,000 children in the United States have experienced the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver from COVID. Globally, one in four children are reporting depression and one in five are reporting anxiety.

“The pandemic has affected our community, our families and of course, the Museum.  But the real victims of the pandemic are our kids,” states Burreson. “Our kids have been living in a time of such uncertainty. It is our job, not just as parents, but as a community to provide stability for them. Many kids have seen their families struggling. They have had to navigate distance learning, mask wearing, disinfecting, and social isolation from their friends.  They’ve missed out on birthday parties and school field trips and family vacations.  They are missing the normalcy and simplicity that should be part of their childhood.”

The Children’s Discovery Museum is a space which allows children to experience joy and laughter, to make happy memories with their families, and forget about the grown-up problems of the world.  It gives children a place to explore, imagine, learn, and express in creative ways.  Children’s museums, in general, are popular, yet neutral, sources of information, attract a diverse cross-section of people and provide shared experiences through interpretative and interactive exhibits. They are uniquely positioned to help reverse stigma and discrimination. In a time when the world is faced with trauma, the presence of a strong children’s museum in the desert community will provide a safe-haven to help families re-establish the normalcy of childhood.

Community members are invited to make donations. All efforts are welcome. Please give today by visiting Under the Rancho Mirage matching grant, donations will be matched 100% up to $150,000. Checks may be mailed to CDMoD 71-701 Gerald Ford Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270.

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The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert is a valuable community resource for children and families to experience the joy of learning about themselves and the world around them. The museum inspires personal growth by engaging curiosity and creativity through hands-on explorations of exhibits and programs. Learning: The Museum values being a space which nurtures thoughtful, hands-on learning in a creative and engaging environment that celebrates learning as an innately joyful activity. Family: The Museum values being a place where multigenerational family members can grow their relationships through comfortably exploring, sharing, and learning together. Community: The Museum values being a community resource and a welcoming safe space where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together to share experiences while learning about themselves and the world about them.