AKRON, Ohio, May 31 /PRNewswire/ -- In a move that promises increased national prominence for Inventure Place, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and secures its future in Akron, the institution's two sponsoring organizations today signed an agreement to create a single, nationally focused board of trustees. "The significance of this agreement cannot be overstated," said Akron attorney Robert Briggs, chairman of the Inventure Place board of trustees. "A consistent national focus will pave the way for establishing a broader funding base to support exciting national programs while at the same time paying off our debt and enhancing the stature of our world-class museum in Akron." The agreement between Inventure Place, Inc. and the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. (NIHFF) provides Inventure Place with an exclusive license to use the National Inventors Hall of Fame name and other intellectual property as long as the institution pays off its debt within five years. Previously, Inventure Place had a non-exclusive license from NIHFF. In addition, the agreement calls for the annual National Inventors Hall of Fame induction ceremonies to be held in Summit County. Approval by a supermajority of the board is required to move either the hall of fame or the ceremonies. "We are very pleased to have created a single board that will be able to focus on creating an environment for the National Inventors Hall of Fame that truly celebrates the creativity and inventiveness that have shaped our world," said Chicago attorney Thomas E. Smith, president of NIHFF. "We look forward to being in a stronger position to draw upon the insights and financial support of this nation's corporate community." The new board will have 30 members serving staggered three-year terms. Its members, who will be announced next month, will be determined as follows: * Ten members from the current 32-member Inventure Place board. Akron's mayor and city council president will be among the 10 members until Inventure Place's debt to the city is repaid. * Ten members from the current 32-member National Inventors Hall of Fame board, which will continue to make the annual selection of hall of fame inductees. * Ten members to be selected by the 20 members indicated above. This group will include broad national representation and will also include the Summit County executive and the County Council president until the debt to the city is repaid or for five years, whichever comes first. The board will also include three ex-officio members with no voting rights -- the chief executive officer and two representatives from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a partner with the institution since its inception. Future members will be selected by the new board, with no more than one-third each being from Summit County or affiliated with NIHFF. Briggs said the efforts of Executive Director David Fink and his staff to obtain national funding for Inventure Place have been successful in accumulating more than $3 million in additional cash reserves during the past year. "Clearly, this institution is on the right track under Dave Fink's leadership," Briggs said. "Although we are well on our way to fulfilling our obligations to the city and banks, we would not be able to eliminate the debt without the national funding sources that the restructuring will open up. We will now be in a position not only to pay off the debt in a manageable way, but also to make the kinds of investments in the museum that will keep visitors coming back." Inventure Place, which houses the National Inventors Hall of Fame, is dedicated to inspiring creativity and invention throughout the nation. Invention takes many forms, from research and development and artistic expression to entrepreneurship, and it is the mission of Inventure Place to promote these and other activities to keep the nation at the forefront of technological leadership. Inventure Place has welcomed more than 600,000 guests -- primarily families and more than 215,000 children on field trips -- since opening to the public in July 1995. The National Inventors Hall of Fame was founded to celebrate the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of great inventors. The hall is dedicated to the individuals who have brought about technological advances, fostered by the U.S. Patent System, that have greatly increased the general welfare of society.
SOURCE National Inventors Hall of Fame