The new executive director of the Reach in Richland is starting her leadership of the museum with a $50,000 donation.
Hanford contractor Mission Support Alliance made the donation Thursday and held a reception to allow new Executive Director Rosanna Sharpe to meet members of the community.
The donation is not a surprise. The Reach’s governing board counted on it when it approved a $974,000 budget for 2017 that included no layoffs and money for a full-time chief executive officer.
But the identity of the donor was not confirmed until Thursday.
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Mission Support Alliance, the site-wide services provider at the Hanford nuclear reservation, has been an important ally of the Reach.
In 2012, it announced a donation of $1 million to support the museum for five years. Half of the amount was an in-kind donation, with Mission Support Alliance providing technical and professional support as the building was constructed.
With the museum open since 2014, the time is right to build on the center’s foundation of programs to expand them and do more outreach to the community.
Rae Moss of Mission Support Alliance
With a new executive director picked for the museum, Mission Support Alliance is providing an additional donation for the museum’s next phase.
No restrictions were placed on the donation, but the Hanford contractor wanted it used to help bring a strong executive director to the museum.
With the museum open since 2014, the time is right to build on the center’s foundation of programs to expand them and do more outreach to the community, said Rae Moss of Mission Support Alliance.
The company supports the Reach as a showcase for the history and the culture of the region and Sharpe has a strong and diverse background to deliver that, Moss said.
Sharpe, who started work at the Reach April 17, grew up in Yakima and Tacoma and has 25 years of experience with museums. She most recently worked as executive director of the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle.
She replaces Lisa Toomey, who retired in December after leading the Reach from a stalled project to a brick-and-mortar facility.
The museum at the west end of Columbia Park has proved to be a popular attraction. Visitors can learn about the Ice Age Floods, the World War II Manhattan Project and the wildlife and plants of the region and take tours and classes.
But like many new museums, it has experienced tight finances.
Officials earlier reduced the museum’s hours, laid off some staffers and stepped up fundraising in response.