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New Children’s Museum appeals to San Diegans’ inner child philanthropists

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Raising $27 million is as easy a child’s play. At least it seemed to be the case for The New Children’s Museum (NCM). Billed as a place to “think, play and create,” the local nonprofit turned that mantra into a successful fundraising strategy.
That game plan worked well, according to NCM board member Celeste Hilling. She chairs the NCM’s development committee ,which surpassed its $10 Million Matching Challenge goals through ongoing “show and tell” outreaches (among other efforts). The idea was simple. Just invite the grown-ups to experience the museum at its new Downtown home, then the rest would follow.
“We’ve had a lot of fun bringing out the little kid in everyone. It has been a great way to introduce the museum to people, who often in turn become donors,” said Hilling. She credits her board members, volunteers and other supporters – many of whom have young children – for enthusiastically connecting community groups to the NCM as an event venue.
The fun typically starts in the “Rainhouse” – where guests can pedal bikes that make rain fall on a tin roof. More play-time follows, such as scavenger hunts, pillow fights, and clay animation projects – along with larger-than-life art installations such as Toy and Horse (pictured).
For more information about The New Children’s Museum, go to

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