Human rights museum fundraising reaches $136M
Fundraisers still at least $14M short of goal
The group raising money for Canada's new human rights museum says it has collected $136 million in donations to date, but it still needs to raise at least $14 million more.
The Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights announced Tuesday that it has raised $6 million from the private sector in the past year, bringing the total to $136 million.
Stuart Murray, the museum's president, said what the group has achieved so far is nothing short of amazing.
"It's unprecedented. I mean, they've raised $136 million. I think that that has to be acknowledged as something that's incredible," he told reporters.
"This is unbelievable, what they've done. And because of that, this museum is going to be spectacular."
Some of the money has come from students at École Selkirk Junior High School, who have raised at least $32,000 over the last two years by auctioning off hand-crafted guitars that have been autographed by celebrities.
The national museum is already under construction at The Forks in downtown Winnipeg, and organizers have been closing in on their goal of $150 million in private donations.
"No uncertainty now at all — we are totally off to the races," said Gail Asper, the group's national campaign chair.
"Why we're celebrating now is honestly, in 12 years, we haven't had this kind of funding certainty. This is what we've been waiting for."
The museum has run into cost overruns and the Manitoba and federal governments stepped in this summer with a loan and a loan guarantee.
Asper said fundraisers may have to raise even more money to pay interest on their provincially backed loan, depending on how quickly the last of the money is raised.
Asper said the museum will open in 2014, regardless of how soon the remainder of the cash is raised, because of the government backing.
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger told reporters that the province has no new plans to contribute more money to the museum project.
With files from The Canadian Press