Kid Time dodges closure, may cut programs

Fundraising nets $65,000 so far, still short of the Medford learning center's goal

A popular Medford children's museum and learning center has raised enough in a fundraising campaign to prevent closure, but some programs still could be cut if the facility doesn't reach its goal by mid-March.

The Kid Time Discovery Experience has raised $65,000 since its campaign kicked off Jan. 15. The funding was needed because of an increased demand on the center's early-learning programs, increased costs, and a plunge in grants and donations. Kid Time officials said they still hope to reach the $100,000 mark.

"I guess the appropriate metaphor is we've stopped the bleeding," said Kid Time director Sunny Spicer. "We're not in danger of closing now. Worst-case scenario, we would have to cut programs, but we're still making sure that's not going to happen."

Programs that could be cut include drop-in arts and crafts activities, music programs and physical education classes.

The funds received will be used on operations costs and go toward scholarship programs for families who use the early-learning and school-readiness programs at the center at the corner of Sixth Street and Central Avenue in downtown Medford.

"It's to give us sort of a solid footing," Spicer said. "This puts us in the position where we have the ability to move forward."

Since the campaign kicked off, Spicer said numerous parents have stepped forward as volunteers to staff fundraising events and help run some of the programs. Donations have ranged in size from large chunks of money from businesses to children bringing in money from their piggy banks.

"Tons of people stepped up," Spicer said. "We're optimistically confident at the moment."

The center is a nonprofit organization that receives 60 percent of its funding through admission and membership fees. The other 40 percent has historically come from grants and donations, a portion that has seen a drop in recent years. The center sees about 55,000 visitors a year, a number that Spicer said is steadily growing.

Spicer announced in December the $100,000 fundraising campaign that she said was necessary to keep the doors open. She said at the time that grants and other major donations had dropped to 15 to 20 percent of previous amounts received.

"It was obviously very stressful to make that announcement," Spicer said. "It was scary to do, but the response has been great."

To donate, or for more information, visit www.kid-time.org.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.


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