Nature All Around Us—A Wild Idea

Last fall, the Natural History Museum of Utah announced a wild idea—an ambitious initiative called Nature All Around Us to encourage Utah residents to explore and record the nature in their own neighborhoods. As part of the project, the museum will develop an in-house special exhibition and a variety of citizen science programs across the state to help spark curiosity for the natural world and to commemorate the museum’s 50th anniversary in fall 2019.

The project caught the attention of the Chicago-based Alternative Visions Fund, which issued a challenge grant to match gifts made in support of the initiative, dollar for dollar, up to $500,000. With the tremendous support of more than 300 museum friends from throughout Utah and the country, the museum fulfilled the challenge grant bringing the total raised—including the Alternative Visions Fund’s match—to just over $1,000,000.

The Alternative Visions Fund donors are “delighted that the match challenge was met and hope that because of the challenge more people, especially families, will attend the Natural History Museum of Utah’s exhibits and events and be aware of this magnificent educational resource in Salt Lake City.”

According to Sarah George, executive director of the museum, the Alternative Visions Fund helped the museum to aim high. “We were able to build tremendous momentum and drive great awareness for Nature All Around Us. We were also thrilled that a number of supporters made first-time contributions to the museum as a result of this ambitious challenge grant.”

One of those first-time contributions came from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Energy.

“We’re very pleased to support this project and partner with so many other wonderful donors to help Utah residents discover the amazing biodiversity in the cities and towns throughout our state,” says Debra Hoytsenior philanthropy coordinator with Dominion Energy Services.

In addition to first-time gifts, Nature All Around Us garnered tremendous support from other longtime museum champions, including the Dick and Timmy Burton Foundation, the Janet Quinney Lawson Foundation, My Good Fund, and, in memory of Margo, the family of Fred and Margo Silvester, among many others.

Art Museum Reimagined

Visitors to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah were wowed by revamped galleries and thoughtfully reimagined public spaces when the museum reopened this fall after a temporary closure for replacement of the museum’s vapor barrier, essential for protecting the building that protects the art. The 19-month project, the first major […]

Learn More

Gary and Ann Crocker Science Center Opens

With much fanfare, University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins, former U President David W. Pershing, and College of Science Dean Henry S. White hosted on April 20 the long-awaited ribbon-cutting celebration to mark the dedication of the spectacular new Gary and Ann Crocker Science Center. Located within the George Thomas Building on Presidents Circle, […]

Learn More

Opening of Cleone Peterson Eccles Alumni House

In the words of University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins, less than three weeks after officially taking office: “What a fantastic way to start a presidency!” Thanks to a $4 million lead gift from the Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Family and the added generosity of many alumni and friends, President Watkins joined […]

Learn More

Opening the Door to Higher Ed: One Refugee at a Time

When Roger and Sara Boyer became aware of the number of highly motivated, qualified, and capable refugees in Utah who had been turned down in their efforts to gain admission to college, they wanted to help. Of the state’s approximately 60,000 refugees, those who want to attend college have the same set of challenges experienced […]

Learn More

Childhood Friendship Results in Social Work Scholarship

The two 15-year-olds stand on the grounds of their new school staring at the camera, anxious as they contemplate what awaits them at Culver Military Academy. It is their first day at the college prep school in Indiana. They have just donned their uniforms and have yet to learn how to properly stand at attention. […]

Learn More

Yanik Scholarship Supports Sigma Nu Students

It was Christmas Eve in the mid-1960s. Winter quarter at the U had ended two weeks earlier and U alum Boyce Yanik and his Sigma Nu fraternity brothers had celebrated the holidays with their Christmas formal and a Sub for Santa Party for a family of 12 children, organized by The Salt Lake Tribune for those […]

Learn More

Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Chairs

The University of Utah and the Huntsman Family Foundation announced, on June 19, the creation of twelve presidential faculty chairs in health sciences. The Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Chairs provide sweeping support to academic researchers, educators, and clinicians spanning a wide array of fields. The presidential chairs are named for the late businessman, philanthropist, and […]

Learn More

Achieving the American Dream

Do you have an idea that could reinvigorate your community’s shrinking middle class? University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins, on May 24, announced a new statewide, presidential initiative called The American Dream Ideas Challenge, that will find, fund, and develop ideas to ensure a vibrant middle class in Utah. The university was selected by […]

Learn More