Act of Congress extends deadline and eliminates "huge hurdle" to Education Center fundraising efforts
WASHINGTON, July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last night, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 588, the Vietnam Veterans Donor Acknowledgement Act of 2013. The bipartisan bill was authored by Congressman Don Young (R-AK) and co-sponsored by Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and 38 other members of Congress. When signed by President Obama, the law will correct a problem with the original legislation that authorized the construction of the Education Center at The Wall, and will make it possible for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) to acknowledge donor contributions by displaying, inside the facility, appropriate statements or credits acknowledging major contributions.
VVMF's president and founder, Jan C. Scruggs says, "Major donors who want to see the Education Center built have been patiently waiting for this correction. Now, the millions of future visitors will see the names of the corporate and individual sponsors who have made substantial commitments to honoring all who have served and those who have sacrificed. We are grateful for the support of the bill's author and co-sponsors in the House, and appreciative of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well as Senators Ron Wyden and Lisa Murkowski who saw this through."
The 108th Congress authorized the Education Center in 2003. The original legislation mandated that the Education Center be privately funded, but included a restriction on donor recognition. This prohibition severely inhibited fundraising efforts among some of the potentially most generous donors. Recognizing donors in meaningful ways is an effective means of cultivating stronger relationships that may lead to additional, larger gifts, and stronger personal engagement. Some potential donors over the years have delayed giving donations because of this issue. H.R. 588 has removed that prohibition, while respecting the inviolability of the National Mall.
"The Vietnam Veterans Donor Acknowledgement Act levels the playing field for the Education Center, by allowing the same protocol for the philanthropic gifts as with other park sites," said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). "Americans believe in giving credit where credit is due, and this bill allows respectful acknowledgement to those who have contributed."
The bill allows short, discrete, and unobtrusive acknowledgments or credits; does not permit any advertising slogans or company logos; and complies with National Park Service (NPS) guidelines for indoor donor recognition.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources said, "The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund has worked tirelessly to raise the money needed to build a center to educate the public about the Vietnam War – and they've done it without federal dollars. This bill makes good on a promise made a decade ago and allows the VVMF to get the center up and running."
Scruggs continues, "The campaign to build the Education Center is now ready to move forward. Vigorous fundraising activities will continue, and now we can ensure that generous donations will be properly recognized. Time is of the essence, because the Education Center will honor all who served, including those serving today in Afghanistan."
About VVMF and the Education Center at The Wall
Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., promoting healing and educating about the impact of the Vietnam War.
The Education Center at The Wall will be a place on our National Mall where our military heroes' stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten. With plans to begin construction in 2015, the Center is a technologically-innovative learning facility to be built on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln Memorials. Visitors will better understand the profound impact that the Vietnam War and other wars had on their friends and family members, their hometowns and the nation. The Center will feature the faces and stories of the more than 58,000 men and women on The Wall, honoring those who fell in Vietnam, those who fought and returned, as well as the friends and families of all who served. The Center will also celebrate the legacy of service that links the heroes of America's past to those still serving today. It will provide an opportunity for visitors from around the world to more fully understand and appreciate the extraordinary sacrifice of those who have given their lives in the nation's defense. Visitors will not simply read their names. They will see these patriots and get to know them in ways not envisioned in any other facility on the National Mall. The Education Center will truly be a place of learning and reflection about the values exemplified by the lives of those who have served and died for our country.
Learn more about the Education Center at The Wall by visiting www.vvmf.org or by calling 866-990-WALL.